The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0736  Monday, 10 April 2000.

From:           Mike Jensen <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 05 Apr 2000 09:21:10 -0700
Subject: Re: Community Theatre
Comment:        SHK 11.0705 Re: Community Theatre

Dear Melissa D. Aaron,

I'm glad you responded to my post, because I have respected your posts
from afar for some time.

Please note that when I said,

> The best community theater I have seen pales when compared
> to the worst regional theater I have seen, and, again in my experience,
> the quality of theater is usually greater on Broadway and the West End
> than in the regions.

I was very careful to write "I have seen" a couple of times.  I fully
realize that a) these things are subjective, and b) anyone can do a bad
show.  I read reviews, talk to people, and pass up the opportunity to
see Alec Baldwin in Macbeth.  Having said that, the last time I was in
New York I saw Ionesco's The Chairs, which was one of the most perfectly
executed productions I have ever seen on stage.  I also saw The Beauty
Queen of Lenane.  While I think the script extremely overrated, I could
not ask for a better staging.  The same holds up for many shows I have
seen in the West End.

On the other hand I did walk out of Pericles at the Royal National
Theatre a few years ago.  No, the venue does not guarantee I shall like
it, but, in my experience, the big theater centers tend to attract very
talented people.  When I attended, briefly, a neighborhood production of
AYLI last year, I was clearly with people who do not have the talent to
be professional actors.  I'm sure their heart was in the right place,
but they were incompetent.

Surely the categories are not rigid, you are right, but my experience
suggests the Palo Alto Players production of anything will not satisfy
me.  My experience also suggests that with a bit of discerning
selection, I will find theater going satisfying in the better-known

I'm not sure why feeling this way is controversial.  I'd feel like an
idiot if I said, "The Palo Alto Players are as good as anything on
Broadway or the South Bank."  Believe me, I wish all theater was great
all the time.  More's the pity.

Mike Jensen

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