New York State of Mind

November 6th, 2008

As an avid Boston theatergoer, I was delighted to read that Peter DuBois '97 AM is the new artistic director of the city's Huntington Theatre Company ("A Wig and a Cane," Arts & Culture, September/October). Delighted, that is, until I read that he thinks bringing New York City talent to the Huntington will enhance that theater's reputation. I see the challenge quite differently.

I am a frequent visitor to Ireland, where I invariably attend the Abbey Theatre's play of the moment. Because of this, I have seen two plays performed at both the Abbey and the Huntington: The Rivals and The Shaughraun. In both instances the Abbey productions were so creative and engaging they remain unforgettable theatrical experiences. By comparison the Huntington productions, despite being loaded with New York City talent, were clunky and unimaginative, and except for the comparison I should have forgotten them long ago. Another play, Observe the Sons of Ulster, I was deterred from seeing at the Huntington by the warning that the New York cast was struggling so unsuccessfully with their Irish accents that I couldn't possibly have a satisfying evening.

I hope that Peter DuBois will do Brown's theater reputation justice by infusing the Huntington with the imagination and creativity I have not seen there in the past. Importing New York talent into a city already rich in theater talent is not the answer to the Huntington's problems.

Richard Davenport '71 MAT
Boston, Mass.

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Related Issue
November/December 2008