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

Although he can't be sure--because the HRDC board does not make their deliberations known--Ruiz says he thinks his show was rejected because of his grandiose plans.

He planned to perform the 40-character show with about 18 to 20 cast members and an elaborate set.

Ruiz says it might have been a financial stretch to fund the production considering his vision, and "the producers seemed close, but we estimated that we could do it."

Ruiz said the HRDC board has replied well to criticism in the past, but he wondered if the selection process sometimes came down to reputations--the board's perceptions of "how easy or how difficult people on the staff are to work with."

"There's eight people deciding the two biggest shows for all of Harvard theater," Ruiz says. "No one else gets a say. There's a possibility of [the board] not being representative."


Daphne D. Adler '99, the co-director of last month's "Perpetual Motion," the first dance show to be granted the Mainstage by HRDC in recent memory, says she does not criticize the individual HRDC board members, but the selection process itself.

"They were very generous to give us the space, and we're so grateful," Alder says. But they are not at all qualified to evaluate the quality of a dance production."

The Plot Thickens

There are plans to change all that. The shows that HRDC chooses for the Mainstage are supposed to be approved by the Standing Committee on Dramatics, newly-chaired by Robert

J. Kiely '60, master of Adams House and Loker professor of English.

Currently, that happens in theory alone.

Kiely has been a member of the committee for roughly 10 years and doesn't remember the group ever rejecting an HRDC decision; the committee simply "rubber stamps" the board's choices, Kiely says.

This year, he received an e-mail message informing him of the two shows the board chose.

"It would be a better system if more people were involved," Kiely says. "The more expertise, the fairer the process."

As the committee's new chair, Kiely says he wants to change the way the system has been operating, better integrating his Faculty team into the process, discussing choices with the HRDC board and dispensing some advice.

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