Thursday, February 18, 2010

'The drama is not dead but liveth ...'

Posted By on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Michael Augenstein's assertion in his Feb. 11 letter ("Fire in the theater") that the Indy gives too little attention to local theater appears to be based more on his opinion of a recent show preview than on fact.

Checking Indy archives, I found that we have reported a stage production almost every month, and sometimes two or three times a month, for the past year. (The three months we didn't run any theater previews were the summer months when, presumably, there were no show openings to report.) I myself have written six theater previews since last March.

Whats theater without conflict, right?
  • What's theater without conflict, right?

By the numbers, it looks like my fellow Indy writers and I have a pretty impressive record of following local theater events, considering the number of theater companies in town and the fact that the running time for most shows is about a month, so there can only be so many productions in the first place. Mr. Augenstein didn't point out a show we didn't cover that he thought deserved it.

He also jibed that he knows not one Indy staffer knowledgeable about live theater. To that I have no other response but to steer him in the direction of those same archives.

Frankly, there are multiple Indy writers well-versed in theater, and we've done a fine job of covering local shows. (If you're looking for more content, I hope to post reviews on the blog in the future. Generally, we reserve our print space for previews, so readers know a show is coming up and can make plans to see it.)

If the underlying complaint is about Anthony Lane's offbeat preview of Twelve Angry Men, in which Mr. Augenstein played Juror #2, I'm sure Mr. Lane and his editors would be happy to hear the criticism.

Anyone who's seen a Fine Arts Center Theatre Company production knows that there's a pulsing live theater audience in Colorado Springs. Last Friday, for example, the company performed Sweeney Todd to a packed house that gave a generous standing ovation at curtain call. When I called the FAC on Tuesday morning, a box office employee confirmed my experience as typical: "We're bombarded with people all the time. There are plenty of people at the shows, we have no problem with that."

To quote William Archer, the drama critic whose translations helped establish playwright Henrik Ibsen, "The drama is not dead but liveth, and contains the germs of better things."

Certainly, Colorado Springs theater lives and breathes — with the support of local theater-lovers and critics.

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