[pullquote]I was young, inexperienced, and unused to such focused attention. Xanthippe changed all that for me.—Millicent Hayberry[/pullquote]Outside the Burrow Theatre yesterday, Millicent Hayberry acknowledged the contributions of Xanthippe Porcupine, her “greatest fan,” and held court afterwards, signing autographs and mixing with the crowd at what some in attendance called a “bizarre combination of memorial service, self-promotion, and lovefest.”
At times unusually restrained and at others downright effusive, Hayberry spoke almost lovingly of an Animal whom she had at first feared.
“I was young, inexperienced, and unused to such focused attention,” she told the crowd of mourners standing under the bright sun. “Xanthippe changed all that for me.”
Hayberry said she’d found that one of the consequences of having a superfan was that she had to fight to maintain a more objective view of herself and her work. But, at the same time, Porcupine’s recommendations provided a balance.
“Xanthippe was never critical, even when she made suggestions, which other actors would have found outrageous and presumptuous. But she had a good ear and was particular about cadence and, in the end, I believe that made my performances better,” she said.
Among the others who spoke at the memorial was Porcupine’s daughter Carys, who thanked Hayberry for agreeing to give the eulogy, while gently teasing her about never feeling as important to her mother as Hayberry was.
“I was, in fact, my mother’s only daughter, but I always felt as if I were her second and Millicent Hayberry was her first,” she joked. “My only regret is that my mother wasn’t able to hear the wonderful things you said about her today.”
Porcupine was laid to rest in a private burial Saturday evening.