Drama department recalls Devin Spriggs on stage

Katie Hodges, Staff Writer

A thread of humanity that brought life to countless characters onstage was lost this summer in Devin Spriggs.
Spriggs, who died in a drowning accident on the Missouri River July 28, helped characters from Doc Gibbs in “Our Town” to Oscar Madison in “The Odd Couple” come alive on stage at CMR. He graduated May 30 with the class of 2010, with plans to go on to major in drama at the University of Montana.
Stacey Bergquist, Spriggs’ former drama teacher, remembers him as being a person who made characters easy to relate to.
“He found the thread of humanity that ran through all the characters, and that’s what made them so real and so believable,” Bergquist said. “He tied that into his own humanity.”
Along with “Our Town” in the fall of 2010 and “The Odd Couple” in the spring of 2010 Spriggs also portrayed Tom Wingfield in “The Glass Menagerie” in the spring of 2009. Bergquist counts those three as Spriggs’ strongest performances.
Although Spriggs was a strong actor, Bergquist remembers how he could not keep hold of his script, to the point where Spriggs’ lost script became a running joke in the department.
“I was always marveling at how he memorized his lines,” he said.
Fellow actress Kimberly Stanfield, a senior, remembers Spriggs as a talented actor, but she also remembers him as a “good guy” with a “distinct philosophy.”
“He was so open to everything,” Stanfield said. “He had an open mind, but he would never condemn others for their thoughts.”
Stanfield describes Spriggs as being “very chill about everything,” although she also said that “it was really hard to get in an argument with him and walk away winning.”
Spriggs death has affected the entire drama department.
“When we found out, it was such a shock,” Stanfield said. “Why him, of all people?”
Although the department does not have any concrete plans made in Spriggs’ memory, she says that “we’ll always be living in his memory. He taught us a lot.”
Stanfield also believes that his death brought the department together.
“I think it made us stronger as a family,” Stanfield said. “It definitely taught us to look past people’s imperfections because they do have a lot to teach us.”
It is the funny side of Spriggs that fellow 2010 graduate Zack Jarvis remembers. Jarvis acted alongside Spriggs as Felix Ungar in “The Odd Couple.”
“[The role of Oscar] let Devin be the funny guy he really is,” Jarvis said.
Jarvis recalls how Spriggs would often laugh onstage during performances.
“It was fun working with him because he did laugh on stage,” Jarvis said. “You could tell when he was acting [that] he was supposed to be there.”
“He put himself into every character while making the character his own.”
In the end, Jarvis said that Spriggs was a great guy, and that it was a pleasure to have acted with him.
Bergquist echoed this.
“We all loved him in the department, and we’re all going to miss him. It’s a terrible, tragic loss.”