Waiting in the Wings

While some question the selection process for the Loeb Mainstage, more wonder why there isn't another campus theater like it

But HRDC executives do say they look for experience in directors, producers and designers, as well as the overall vision these leaders have for the show.

It is important, they say, that the director and producer have refined their skills in other campus productions, proving that they are ready to tackle such a large space as the Mainstage.

"Experience plays a huge role," says Jessica K. Jackson '99, former president of HRDC. "How else do we know if they are going to pull off a good show or not?"

The board says they also discuss if the Mainstage could feasibly accommodate the director's plans for the show; many productions are rejected because the board thinks that the concept the director envisions would be impossible to stage.

"We wouldn't want an enormous amount of open flame, for example," Jackson says.


Davidson, Jackson's successor, says the process of choosing shows is an extremely difficult one because the board must evaluate applications that all have particular strengths.

"In general though, we're looking for a strong staff, a good script and a strong vision [for the show]," he says.

While board members say they avoid making artistic evaluations of prospective shows, the board does consider how the two shows of a given season will stand in relation to one another, hoping to put together a balanced marquee.

They steer away from choosing two shows by the same author, or two productions with small casts, or large casts.

"We do like to put up a variety of shows," Davidson says. "We don't want to put up two shows that have eight people, because that would only give eight people a chance to perform [in each show]."

The Powers That Be

Jerry Ruiz '00 applied for the Mainstage this spring with a show that is unlikely to be mistaken for another.

Ruiz's version of "Cyrano de Bergarac" would begin in the 17th century and move forward 100 years each act, ending in the 21st century ("with a bleak, post-apocalyptic thing at the end," Ruiz notes).

Ruiz has acted in about six campus productions and directed two shows at Harvard, one in the Loeb Experimental Theatre and "How the Other Half Loves," which recently closed after a two-weekend run at the Agassiz Theatre.

But despite his work--and what he believes to be an experienced staff on board as well, including costume, set, light and prop designers, a technical director and stage manager--the board rejected "Cyrano."

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