Only Right and Proper Program for Loeb
Since it is a theater, the Loeb Center will, of course, be a center of controversy. This should be taken for granted.
All partisans of the theater are zealots, fiercely dedicated, hotly contentious, and just plain cantankerous. They disagree, as a matter of principle, with almost everybody on almost all topics pertaining to the drama and if they manage to retain some semblance of good manners, it is only because they are afraid to fights with fists.
From the beginning, from the time when the Loeb Drama Center was first announced as a projects, they have contended hotly over what its purpose and practices should be. On this subject, it would be inexact to say there are two schools of thought; there are two hundred.
They are all wrong, too. The only right and proper program for the Center is submitted herewith, with the perfectly reasonable insistence that all other plans be immediately rejected, scrapped and discarded:
1. The Loeb Center should be so used as to allow all Harvard theatrical groups maximum opportunity to present the best of their work--and only the best--for the largest possible audiences. (Inferior work should be presented in Sanders Theater, where nothing looks good anyway.)
2. Student companies should make all efforts, within reason, to employ to the fullest the unique and extra-ordinary machinery with which the stage is equipped, not merely to demonstrate its wonders but in order to discover if and how the values of basic dramas may be enhanced by such machinery.
3. Although the Center should aim first at satisfying the dramatic needs of the university, it must also try to serve the Cambridge-Boston community and, beyond that, the theater at large. (This wouldn't be necessary if the American commercial theater were doing a reasonable job.)
4. Since there are classics and near classics of the drama available in the books, but not on our stage where they belong, such classics and near-classics should be produced at the Loeb Center, for the pleasure and instruction of students and the public.
5. Since there are plays in the American repertory which are popularly successful in their own time, but have yet to be proved in our generation, the most likely of these should be dusted off and restaged for a new appraisal, to determine if they can and should survive. (There can be no proper American repertory company until we can determine which American plays of the past have real survival value.)
6. New playwrights must be trained, in one way or another, and their works exhibited for audiences who will make a serious effort to evaluate them, for the benefit of the dramatists and the theater at large.
7. The Boston drama critics should be invited to scrutinize and appraise the productions of the Center only when these are ready for professional scrutiny or appraisal.
8. When the Center is prepared to offer to the whole world of the theater a work of some general significance, the New York critics should be invited, too. (Brooks Atkinson, as a Harvard man, and as the critic who has done more than anyone else to elevate the tone of journalistic play reviewing, should be given a permanent pass and a standing invitation.)
9. The present administration of the Center should be allowed to proceed for at least a year free of any carping criticism. (Well, almost free.)
10. Anyone who fails to accept and endorse the sweet reasonableness of this entire program, herewith submitted, is to be sentenced to ten days in Yale.