To the Editors of The Crimson:
After listening to or reading a variety of misconceived notions about Robert Brustein's possible appointment as director of the Loeb, it was certainly a relief to come across Stephen Toope's realistic appraisal in The Crimson of December 5. Nonetheless, although I agree with Toope in many respects, I think a somewhat different and possibly even more realistic interpretation of certain facts is open to us.
Toope remarks that those who support Brustein assume Brustein will support undergraduate theater at Harvard, that "he will be transformed into a crusader of undergraduate rights." I support Brustein's presence here but I hope he would do no such thing. Toope also chastises Brustein's supporters for assuming the new director will make an effort to "expand theater participation at Harvard." Presumably Toope means the new director could, if he chose, use his repertory company to train amateur but interested students and bring more students planning a theater career to Harvard in the first place. Again, although I support Brustein, I do not expect he would necessarily want to do this. I realize Brustein himself has been ambiguous about these matters. Still, I imagine his basic interests are obvious--and that few undergraduates could participate in the professional program of a newly-created Harvard School of Drama seems to me neither unfortunate nor even unnatural.
The issue is of course at root a question of the necessity for a professional theater company here. Many voices have been loudly raised against this spectre of "professionalization," but I am not sure where some of those who argue against professional schooling or academic specialization of one sort or another think they have chosen to go to school. Despite what the Admissions Office might say, and as our own experiences in innumerable petty situations will attest, Harvard is hardly just a liberal arts college. To act as if Harvard College equals Harvard University--and that undergraduate opinion and requirements should be satisfied above all else--is to choose to ignore part of Harvard's basic nature as a major scientific and research institution.
Toope and others have suggested ways in which Brustein could burnish his tarnished image among undergraduates. It would be nice if the man took all of this thoughtful criticism to heart. But I am not particularly sanguine. Looking at the matter realistically, taking a modest view of the impression undergraduate concerns can (and should) make on university policies and plans in general, we miss the boat if we categorically reject Brustein and his proposals. It would now be best to put aside antagonisms and welcome Brustein and the exciting possibilities he has suddenly opened up. Whitney Davis '80