Fact vs. Truth
Your coverage of the chat with Arthur Miller, Ying Ruocheng and John Dillon at TCG’s National Conference [Sept. ’84] was a reminder of what an example the high standards of artists of the world can be. And the commentary by American artists who apply the same degree of discipline to their work was refreshing. James Reston, Emily Mann and Adrian Hall, in discussing the difference between “fact” and “truth,” hit a nerve that is not m only central to theatre but the world at large today.
Arthur Bartow, Artistic director
New Playwrights’ Theatre
Propelled by Problems
I read your reportage of the TCG National Conference with a strong sense that, although our problems, in and out of the theatre, are urgent and terrifying, we’re all moving forward together—and not so much in spite of the problems as because of them.
Milwaukee Repertory Theater
Responding to my critique of A.L. Rowse’s Contemporary Shakespeare [Sept. ’84], James E. Lyons refers to me as a “feckless reviewer.” First of all, I have as much feck as the next guy. Furthermore, I’d like to point out that, in taking issue with my review, Lyons is unable to find any fault with the substantive criticisms I raise against Rowse’s Shakespeare edition. Instead he trots out the predictable “ivory tower” argument and then criticizes two (admittedly somewhat snide) remarks that are incidental to the thrust of my review. In doing so he misinterprets me and, by implication, maligns the already much-maligned profession of literary management.
My remark about teaching Shakespeare in secondary schools was prompted by my own less-than-inspiring experience as a student in one of the most reputable secondary systems in the country. But my comment that Shakespeare should not be taught at all in high school is an ironic exaggeration, and I had hoped it would be taken as such. In any case, if the plays are to be taught, let’s teach them as he wrote them.
More important, my review makes no swipes, as Lyons contends, against the modern English-speaking masses. Instead the review suggests that it is Rowse who swipes—unforgivably— in assuming that those masses are incapable of appreciating the unadulterated beauty of Shakespeare’s plays. I won’t dispute that Rowe may be one of this century’s finest historians; but that in itself does not make Rowse’s ill-advised edit of Shakespeare worthy of any respect.
John Glore, Literary assistant
South Coast Repertory
In an account of this year’s meeting of the American Assembly [Sept. ’84], it was erroneously noted that the Assembly’s report was edited by W. McNeil Lowry. Mr. Lowry did in fact edit a book of background readings for the May 31-June 3 session, but the Assembly report is drafted and voted on by the participants themselves in plenary session. The full report will be published shortly by Prentice-Hall.
The New Playwrights’ Theatre’s recent repertory presentation of John Guare’s Gardenia and Lydie Breeze was co-directed by Lloyd Rose and James Nicola, rather than individually [Sept. ’84]. Rose notes that the idea of doing the plays in rep was inspired by The Godfather films rather than by Nicholas Nickleby.
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