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

To their credit, HRDC's efforts have won support from aspiring directors and producers whose shows were actually rejected from the Mainstage.

Josh Edelman '00 applied for the Mainstage twice with Thorton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth." And twice he was rejected.

Although he says he feels HRDC's method might need to be "tweaked", he also says that "the process is fundamentally sound."

Marisa N. Echeverria '00, who applied for a fall slot with the eight person show, "Arms and the Man," said the application process was a learning experience.

She says she appreciated getting feedback on questions she had about directing her show and that "the board has chosen a number of really great shows."


The Larger Scene

Meanwhile, Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III says that the process could be "more critical," but the issue of shrinking space is key.

From a historical perspective, the Loeb family--which provided the funds for the Loeb Drama Center during the era of Harvard President.

Nathan M. Pusey '28--had undergraduate theater in mind when they pledged their gift, Epps says.

And when the ART approached the University to use the Loeb Center collaboratively, the College hoped this would be an opportunity for students to learn from theater experts.

"I thought we were buying a professional repertory theater that would interact with undergraduates and raise the level of undergraduate performances," Epps says. "That has not worked."

With the ART's inclusion, undergraduates lost space; Epps remembers there were once seven slots for undergraduates on the Mainstage, and today students now command only four.

Meanwhile, in 1970, there were 20 undergraduate productions on campus, according to Epps. This year, there were 60, he says.

Epps fears that with the pending Harvard-Radcliffe merger, undergraduates will no longer have access to Agassiz Theatre in Radcliffe Yard, putting more pressure for students to find alternatives to the Loeb.

"I think what we'll see in the short run is use of improvised space," Epps says. "The use of the Hasty Pudding theater for non-Hasty Pudding events has increased."

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