Fran Harman: Forever in our Hearts

 By Giovanni Xu

Reproduced by permission of Mr. Tommy Marr
Reproduced by permission of Mr. Tommy Marr

Fran Harman played a big role in the performances that took place on the stage at South. For all the Theatre South productions and the operas, Fran did it all: choreography, costumes, lighting and more. Furthermore, Fashion Show performances would not have been the successes they were without Fran’s various contributions. Fran Harman passed away this summer, but her legacy lives on in the hearts of South’s students, teachers, and alumni.
On Oct. 5, a memorial was held at Dicapo Opera Theatre to honor Fran Harman’s life. The program consisted of video selections of works that Fran was a part of, heart-felt remembrances by many of Fran’s closest friends, colleagues, and family members, and songs sung by professional singers that Fran had worked with. Alumni from South, including Aaron Mor, Nina Berman, Jessica Fishenfeld and a small chorus of current students from South, including Nina Mor, James Kennedy, Giovanni Xu, and Justin Kelly, also performed and were accompanied by Dr. Levy. It was evident from this memorial that Fran was a true inspiration who lived for art and lived for love: “Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore.”
“The biggest thing that inspired me about Fran was her ability to focus on the task at hand, the show as a whole, and its impact on the students. She knew so much, and although she wasn’t teaching formal lessons here, she taught lessons both about theatre and about life. One of her favorite sayings was “Take the word ‘can’t’ out of your vocabulary.” For her, it was not about a “me” or a “you.” It was about remembering that theatre is a team sport. Even though I only knew her for four years, it was really a lifetime of learning. She quickly became like a family member to me.” – Mr. Tommy Marr (Theatre South Adviser)
“With Fran’s passing, and when she was sick, her most important wish was to keep things going the way they would be going if she were still here. I think not following that wish would probably upset her the most and would be the biggest disservice to her. The best way to carry on who she was and what she was all about is to try to make each show a little better, and make things on the stage a little bit tighter. The show must go on. That’s what she would have wanted and that’s the best way to honor her.” – Mr. John Motchkavitz (Technology Department Head and Stage Crew Manager)
“Fran was, is, and always will be my role model. From the first day I met her, she never failed to surprise me with the amount of talent, strength, courage, and ambition she had. Seeing her work and do what she loved the most with such passion, grace, and dedication made a huge impact on me and still inspires me. I’m really grateful that I got to know her and work with her. I will never forget you, Fran.” – Anna Zagubizhenko (Alumna)
“Fran never allows me to let myself fail. She never allows me to say I can’t. She forces me to be independent and forces me to grow. The question asked of me is, “How did Fran impact you?” but I cannot answer that question in the past tense because Fran still impacts me. She lives on forever.” -James Kennedy (Senior)
“Fran really opened my eyes to the world of performing. She taught me that even if you don’t make the most money in the world, you should do what you love because your life should revolve around your passion. Fran was the most hard-working, caring individual that I have ever met. I am so honored to have worked with her.” – Justin Kelly (Senior)
“Fran was just so inspiring in every thing she did. She never ever neglected a detail in any department and was taking care of a million things at once. We actually hired several people this year to do all the tasks she used to do single-handedly and simultaneously” – Michelle Geffner  (Junior)
“Without Fran, Fashion Show this year is going to be a struggle. Since she was a stage manager, she had ability to help us place 50 people on a stage, which is a difficult task to do since we’re given a finite amount of space. But still, she managed to make it look amazing. This year’s Fashion Show plans to donate one dollar from every ticket bought to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in honor of Fran.” – Allie Di John (Senior)
“Fran’s influence over the years has taught me how to take a much more proactive stance not just in theatre, but in anything in life. She always recalled the story of how I used to be terrified of her and avoided talking to her, even before I met her, just because I heard her yell once. I now look back to those days and think how silly it was of me. After getting to know her, Fran Harman was just so much more than a screaming voice over a speaker.” – Christopher Wong (Alumnus)
“Every day of my junior and senior years, I spent at least one period in Fran’s office. During that time, I tried to learn everything I possibly could from such an amazingly talented woman. She called me her ‘little minion’. South will never again see someone as talented and influential as Fran. She is truly irreplaceable.” – Ariel Heller-Sabet (Alumnus)
“Fran was an inspiration to all of us. She had a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders all the time, and she took it all in stride. She put her all into every fashion show I was in and only accepted the same level of effort from each performer, causing her to never fail to put on an amazing show. Her talent and perseverance was admirable and she will be missed” – Rachel Stand (Alumna)