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Letters to the Editor

Danny Newman’s German, Eugene Lee’s concrete floor, and Dario Fo, pro and con.

Newman in the Trenches

I was delighted to learn in American Theatre (Nov. ’84) that Danny Newman was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions during World War II. Of course, I wasn’t much surprised that Danny could convince a group of armed German soldiers to join him. What I can’t fathom is how he got the German authorities to release their mailing lists.

And as for his using his “imperfect command” of German, I’m sure there’s no one in the American theatre who can’t guess what the command was: Surrender Now!

Michael Maso, Managing Director
Huntington Theatre Company

Indeed. And since that citation, Newman has garnered another honor with an international flavor. Italian president Sandro Pertini conferred a degree of “Cavaliere Ufficiale” upon the Subscribe Now! author during the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 30ch birthday celebration in November. The company’s general manager Ardis Krainik was similarly cited.

Concrete Reasoning

The dirt floor theatre which Arnold Aronson describes in his notes about Eugene Lee’s escapades in Dallas (Dec., ’84) really has a concrete floor.

Dirt was trucked in to create the effect in one production so far, Tom Jones. Concrete was one of several compromises or problems encountered in the pre-fabricated space. Horrible acoustics was another. Performances had to be cancelled when it rained.

Eugene should not be blamed for the shortcomings of the space, but readers may want to extend some normal curiosity before concluding that it is something worthy of copying.

Albert Milano, Managing Director
Cleveland Play House (Former general manager, Dallas Theater Center)

Which Dragon?

I enjoyed your editorial “Coming Home” (Nov. ’84). However, I want to clarify one point: Michael Cimino’s film The Year of the Dragon is based on the novel written by Robert Daley and not on Frank Chin’s play of the same name. The film is utilizing several Asian and Asian American actors, so many of us are thrilled—but the subject matter (organized crime in the Chinese community) is highly sensitive. We all feel that particular clarification is especially important.

Janet Mitsui
East West Players
Los Angeles

Against Exclusion

We were delighted with your splendid article on the ideological exclusion of artists (“Artists Fall Victim to McCarthy Era Law,” Dec. ’84). The Fo case and similar ones are being addressed by the Coalition for Free Trade in Ideas. We are extremely pleased that Theatre Communications Group has decided to join in this effort.

Susan Benda, Legislative analyst
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
New York

Not So Wonderful

Now, in addition to all the mess you have been publishing about African theatre (“Road from Nigeria,” Dec. ’84), you’ll probably be deifying the slimy little “commie” Dario Fo. I saw his We Won’t Pay, We Won’t Pay several weeks ago. Felt like leaving the theatre holding my nose.

The theatre is a wonderful institution. I hope it can survive the current crop of left-wing clowns and swine who are trying to take it over.

Rosamond McCanless
Richmond, Va.

American Theatre welcomes comments from its readers. Write to the Editor, care of Theatre Communications Group, 355 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10017. Letters may be edited for reasons of space and clarity. Please inform the Circulation Manager of a change of address at least six weeks in advance; include the mailing label from the front of your magazine to insure accuracy.

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