Wednesday, June 16, 2010

DE Theatre Co needs to Entertain

It has been eternally hurtful to me that I have never been referred to by either friends or critics as a second coming of Rex Harrison. He of the supremely patrician and proper clipped British high baritone.
Sir Noel Coward stated that Harrison was the 'best light comedy actor in the world, except for me.” Come on.... I did comedy...at Brecks Mill, at Wilmington Drama League, at Candlelight Theatre. Alright, it's not London's East End, but I was aspiring.
My other cross to bear while I was performing was the review after opening weekend. For those baby boomers who remember, actors in the '70's and '80's had to suffer the vitriol of Otto Dekom, the Journal theatre/food/fine art columnist who loved women and took Mephistophelian delight in the literary evisceration of leading men. When I sang my melodic heart out, Dekom would call it recitative, that talk-singie thing that Harrison always did.
Okay, now back to the reason Sir Rex is part of this story. I insist I have many qualities reminiscent of this Academy Award and Tony Award winner. Consider the song from “My Fair Lady” entitled 'I'm An Ordinary Man'. (Many individuals, especially women, have called me ordinary. This again has proved hurtful to me, but I digress.)
With theatre though, I admit to being ordinary. When I attend theatre, I like to laugh. I like to be surprised. I like to be entertained.
Delaware Theater Company parted ways with their Artistic Director Anne Marie Cammarato after six years because not enough people were being entertained.

“I'm An Ordinary Theatre Go-er” (with apologies to Sir Rex)

Well after all, Ms. Cammarato, I'm an ordinary man,
Who desires nothing more than an ordinary laugh,
to burst out loud in great surprise, and be not considered as strangely daft...
An average man am I, of no eccentric whim,
Who works hard by day, seemingly on the brink,
When I go out, please DON'T make me think
Well... just an ordinary man...

Aisle Say, in different incarnations, has followed Delaware Theatre Company since its opening night over 3 decades ago at a converted firehouse on French Street in Wilmington. With all due respect to the talent and the passion over these many years, I always thought the programming was over the top on social consciousness. I felt that if I did not acquiesce to the theatrical pounding and preaching served up with the vast majority of their productions that maybe I was not a good person. Not knowing where to turn, I stayed away...as did many in the past years.
It's June. The theatre season opens in September. Cammarato chose all the shows for the next season and was to direct three of them. Aisle Say hopes her choices are reconsidered. We need DTC. It was the Lewis & Clark of the Riverfront. It has been an integral part of our cultural environment. It has changed peoples lives for the better. It has also put patrons, too many patrons, to sleep. Please, please.... ENTERTAIN US.

1 comment:

Ron said...

I think it's a bit unfair to say they didn't entertain us. I recall many productions from Anne's years with fondness, such at the New Orleans show Fire on the Bayou, which while serious, was also entertaining. Their production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile and their Complete Works of Shakespeare were also excellent and very funny. But obviously tickets aren't selling. And I don't think it is just marketing. It's tough to charge their prices and survive here, but their costs are too high to charge less, quite a conundrum...I hope they don't dumb down the season to just crowd pleasing dreck...