PALE CAST OF THOUGHT
To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
May I say that I read your Drama Supplement with the keenest interest and sympathy? So comprehensive a survey is bound to run the risk of error in a few details; and when a writer is so clearly devoted to his subject, he may be excused for allowing his private opinions to color his presentation occasionally. But since Mr. Titcomb stresses the importance of student-faculty relations within this sphere, please allow me to clarify the record at one small point.
The article--rightly, I think--sees no serious danger of what it calls "interference from above." However, it does cite a few rare "instances," the first of these involving the Theater Workshop's projected Hamlet of 1947. And Mr. Titcomb continues: "Under pressure from Professor Levin, who predicted it would be 'an artistic and financial failure,' the group gave up the project (Levin was more recently proven wrong on the first point but right on the second)."
"Pressure" is surely a misleading word for the normal process of consultation between an undergraduate group and its faculty adviser, who merely did his duty by pointing out some of the difficulties in the undertaking. The decision to produce another play was democratically arrived at by the students in the group, some of whom had had their own hesitations from the start. Two years ago, when the Dramatic Club was considering Hamlet, I had the same sort of discussion with its talented student director, Stephen Aaron. I am glad that he and his fellow members decided to go ahead, since they did so with a full awareness of their problems, artistic and financial.
I am also glad that Mr. Titcomb thought their production an artistic success. What I would question here is not his opinion but his logic. It does not follow that, if the same exacting play had been produced ten years before by a totally different group, it would have been equally successful. What it would have been like, for better or worse, we shall never know. But we may well regard the Theater Workshop's change of mind as a responsible act of self-criticism. Harry Levin, Professor of English and Comparative Literature.