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Letters to the Editor (December 2013)

Readers wrote in to quibble with or praise our stories about Chautauqua’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ nudity onstage, and recipes from our 2010 “Food Issue.”

Multiple R&Js
Josh Austin’s Strategies article R&J Times Three” (Oct. ’13) captured the spirit and excitement of last summer’s R&J performance at Chautauqua Institution. As one of the handful of Chautauquans who were asked to stand in for the real performers at the “technical rehearsal” from midnight to 4 a.m.—one very late night!—I can testify to the professionalism demonstrated by all the directors. While I could have wished for a more normal time to rehearse for such technical items as lighting, the total experience was worth it! I look forward to next summer’s Chautauqua inter-arts collaboration.

Ira Cooperman
Clinton, N.Y.

Getting Naked When It Counts
Re: Ken Kaissar’s “Baring It All” (Jan. ’13), about stage nudity: I saw a production of The Cannibals in which the actors deferred the requisite nudity at the end, and I was appalled. In George Tabori’s grotesque comedy, a Nazi officer promises survival to a group of starving concentration camp prisoners, provided they follow through with their desperate plan to cannibalize one of their own dead. Discovered and now faced with the choice, all but two choose to accept the gas chamber. They remove their prison-issued clothes and, in the production I saw, walk slowly downstairs through a trap in the floor. The problem was that the actors (whom I knew) reversed their original acceptance of the stage directions and decided a week before opening they wouldn’t go completely naked, instead only stripping to their faded undergarments. What should have been a heart-wrenching and vivid reminder of inhumanity and sacrifice was rendered inert.

I agree that most stage nudity is gratuitous. But sometimes it is a moral imperative.

Craig Kennedy
Long Beach, Calif.

Back to the Food Issue
Another Sunday evening and we’re enjoying another round of Eduardo Machado’s “Gladys’s Garlic Chicken” from whatever issue it was when American Theatre shared recipes. For a pair of busy artist/educators, making up a big pan of this delectable delight is a great end to a Sunday and good food for the soul and body through the coming week’s classes and rehearsals. Thanks for sharing it.

Christina Keefe and Jack Young

Editor’s note: It was the April ’10 “Food Issue,” and Machado’s was one of 10 theatrical recipes shared. To purchase a copy, visit our back issues page on or contact TCG customer service at (212) 609-5900.

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