Article misrepresented Dramat’s views toward profs’ involvement

To the Editor:

On behalf of the Dramat’s Executive Board, we write to express our full support for professors Toni Dorfman and Joseph Roach with regard to their involvement in this semester’s production of “Our Town.”

A recent News article (“Casting of prof. is controversial,” 3/8) misrepresented our statements and led many readers to believe that these professors’ participation in our Spring Mainstage was unwelcome. We adamantly reject the article’s depiction of our sentiments, and we aim here to clarify our board’s endorsement of the production.

In the spring of 2006, professor Dorfman approached the Dramat board about directing “Our Town.” Intrigued by the possibility of working with her, the board asked for a formal proposal detailing her vision for the play. In the fall, we approved her proposal, which included the plan to cast professor Roach as the Stage Manager.

We acknowledged then, as we do now, that this constituted an atypical decision. The board made it precisely because it would offer Dramat members and the broader student body an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate with two renowned professors. So far, the show has fulfilled all our expectations in that regard.

Sadly, following the widespread misunderstanding that resulted from the News’ article, professor Roach elected to withdraw from the production. He wanted to ensure that his participation would not distract from the performance itself. Joshua Brody ’07, who was originally double-cast in the role, will now play the Stage Manager in all five performances.

In selecting “Our Town” as our Spring Mainstage, the board endorsed professor Dorfman’s conception of the play. We continue to stand behind professor Dorfman and producer Amit Bhalla ’09 in their stewardship of the production.

We hope that this letter will correct any false impressions formed by the March 8 article.

Bryan Hunter ’08

Emmett Zackheim ’08

March 25

The writers are vice president and president, respectively, of the Yale University Dramatic Association.

Casting controversy should not distract from play’s importance

To the Editor:

(Re: “Casting of prof. is controversial,” 3/8)

Nothing should distract the News’ readers from the real story here, which is that the Dramat and the Theater Studies program are joining forces on this special occasion, a production of the greatest play written by an American, “Our Town” by Yale alumnus Thornton Wilder, coinciding with a seminar on the topic (THST 361b), showings from the Wilder collection in the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, and the publication of J.D. McClatchy’s outstanding edition of Wilder’s works for Library of America. Everyone should support the Dramat, the director and the wonderful cast of the show by ordering tickets early. I’ve got mine for opening night.

Joseph Roach

March 25

The writer is the Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Theater.