Night of reflection for late theatre professor


It was a night of celebration and reflection for students, friends, and colleagues of the late Christopher Markle Tuesday night in the O’Connell Theatre in the Stevens Building.

The memorial service, which highlighted the artistic career and personality of the theatre and dance professor, induced smiles and laughter throughout the evening.

Close friends spoke in front of the audience sharing fond memories of Markle, recalling his incredible sense of humor and passion for directing and teaching alike. NIU’s Media Services also contributed, putting together a short video tribute that was played at the beginning of the service and set the tone of celebration for the rest of the evening. Friend and colleague David Kaplan received a thunderous ovation after his address.

“The joy he brought to my life, his students’ lives, and his colleagues’ lives will be cherished forever,” Kaplan said during his speech. “He made me laugh the entire time I knew him.”

It wasn’t just those who knew Markle for a long time that were influenced by his character. Brian Sheppard, second year graduate student and performance major, recalled how working with Markle for only 45 minutes during the “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” production was enough to know the kind of influence he possessed.

“He was extremely powerful,” Sheppard said. “In just that short time, he said things that I will carry with me throughout my career.”

Markle was 53 when he died this summer. He received his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts and Directing at Yale University. He arrived at NIU in 1998 and was promoted to head of performance in 2004. One particular student whom he worked with during plays couldn’t get enough of his joyous and off-the-wall personality.

“Markle was just Markle. You can’t really put into words the kind of legacy he leaves behind,” said senior Janel D’Ammassa, who worked with Markle on the fall production of ‘Disciple.’ “He was definitely out there, but he was brilliant at the same time.”

“When I think of him, I smile,” Kaplan said. “I hope you all do too.”