The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on June 14, 1992 · Page 290
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 290

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Sunday, June 14, 1992
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ETTERS He's Still Got the Edge Regarding "Tapering Off?," Hilary de Vries' feature on Gordon Davidson, and "Davidson Needs to Resharpen His Edge," commentary by Sylvie Drake (May 31): I hope I'm expressing what thousands have already written or communicated in some manner. Namely, to complain about the grossly unfair and gratuitously excessive criticism of Gordon Davidson's 25 years. Have we forgotten that before his arrival in Los Angeles, theater was nonexistent, except for after-thought road companies? He's bold, daring and a risk-taker who has mostly still filled seats over his triumphant 25 years. A charming, gracious man, on whom God bestowed mankind's greatest head of hair. Thank you, Gordon Davidson, and please stay for another 25. DICK WHITTINGTON Burbank I join in the chorus of congratulations for Gordon Davidson on his 25th anniversary at the Taper and the wonderful work he's done over the years. But I can't understand the criteria by which he's being measured. On the one hand, you seem to think that the number of Tonys and number of shows he's transferred to New York are the measure of his success. I wonder if we shouldn't give more weight to Sylvie Drake's point that the Taper is a regional theater with a responsibility to serve the local audience. There have been some striking and important productions at the Taper, especially in the early years. But where are the great plays of Chekhov, Ibsen. Shaw, O'Neill. Odets, Williams or Miller? Yes. the Taper has done some Shakespeare, an O'Casey and an occasional Shaw. I think we're entitled to more more great plays with fine actors, of which there are many in this town. Perhaps Davidson is being measured by the number of Ta-per-to-Broadway transfers because the thrust of his work at the Taper is new plays by new playwrights. Thai's important, but how about a balanced schedule of the new and the old? Bring on the hits from New York (at the Doolittle) and bring the musicals (to the Ahmanson), but give us a chance to see some well-directed and well-acted major plays, by major playwrights, in future seasons at the Taper. JEFFREY HAYDEN Los Angeles In Sylvie Drake's commentary, I was dismayed to find no mention of Bill Cain's "Stand-Up Tragedy." which 1 directed first OUT OF Maggie McOmie as LUH Sigourney Weaver as Ripley 3417 in "THX 1 138." in "Allen5." The Bald and the Beautiful Thanks for Sean Mitchell's cover story interview with Sigourney Weaver (May 17). Before "AlienV there was "THX 1138" (1971). Another young director, George Lucas, then 25, asked all his actors to shave their heads for roles in that film. In the subterranean, futuristic world of "THX 1138," the monster is conformity in a society controlled by computers and drugs. As the lead actress in Lucas' visionary "THX 1138," I shared Weaver's excitement at being bald and "out there" for science fiction. MAGGIE McOMIE Santa Monica After taking several years off to raise her daughter, McOmie is again working as an actress and is now writing a screenplay. in workshop in the 1988 New Works Festival. It then went on to be produced for Taper. Too and transferred immediately to a Taper mainstage premiere on June 1,. 1989. The Times lauded the Taper. Too effort as an example of challenging, visceral work that should be explored more frequently by the Mark Taper Forum. Contrary to the impression created by the article, the legacy of "Stand-tip Tragedy" illustrates a strong commitment to the process of development by both Gordon Davidson and Associate Artistic Director Robert Egan. The play went on to sweep the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards and was later produced at the Hartford Stage Company, at Washington, D.C.'s Arena and on Broadway. It was since been sold as a film to Disney with author Bill Cain writing the screenplay. I feel it necessary to call attention to this fine example of L.A.-based theater. It does us all a great disservice that the journey of a such a play remains unmen-tioned by both The Times and Davidson. RON LINK Director, Artist in Residence Mark Taper Forum West Hollywood THE PAST I would like to make a clarification regarding your reference to the Taper's 1989 production of "Sansei" as having been "Asian-inspired" but "written and directed by Anglo-Americans." Although the Taper continues to describe "Sansei" in that manner, the production in fact was based on the lives of four native Angelenos June Okida Kura-moto. Johnny Mori. Danny Ya-mamoto and myself. Collectively, we are the nucleus of the band Hiroshima. The director and catalyst of "Sansei" was Taper Associate Artistic Director Robert Egan, who along with others on the Taper staff edited hours and hours of interviews and discussions with the four of us. That became the basis of the text. Egan was adamant throughout that the play be our story, told through our eyes, spoken with our words. "Sansei" is a multicultural play, relevant to the community of Los Angeles. Though little talked-about. it was the third-largest-grossing production in Taper history. Especially in these times of crisis, theater must serve as a voice for the people of this city, and not just a recreational diversion for the elite. DAN KURAMOTO Monterey Park That Masked Man Thanks very much, to Barbara Isenberg for her excellent feature article "The Phantom Phenomenon" (May 31). As a somewhat-fanatical fan of "The Phantom of the Opera" and actor Davis Gaines, I find it gratifying to see such attention being focused on a production that has become an obsession (or near-obsession) for so many denizens of this city, in which the realities of day-to-day life do tend to be rather grim. . I am very disturbed by the prevailing notion of the production's executives that "Phantom" will "wind down at some point next year." With tickets for the show still so much in demand, why they would even entertain the idea of closing the show at this point is beyond me. As Isen-berg's piece so aptly observed, the Phantom represents for many a dream come to life. I for one have come to absolutely depend on the sweet escapist pleasure that is readily available to me via the very gifted Gaines and his tantalizing characterization. An evening spent in the company of the "Angel of Music" is positively therapeutic. The Phantom fills my soul with his passion and makes all my worldly problems and frustrations simply vanish. In this impersonal and oftentimes unfriendly city, where life is complex and reality hard to swallow, is it any wonder that so many of us cling desperately to the noble and enticing masked man of mystery? L.A. needs its "dream man," and never more than now, in these times of social and economic trouble. Long live the fantasy! CAROLE EASTMAN Los Angeles Reader Eastman is a writer but, she notes, not the screenwriter best known for "Five Easy Pieces." Riot and Rebellion Regarding "The Rap Is-. Justice," May 31: In Tian An Men Square, thousands upon thousands of demonstrators congregated. There was not one building torched, nor was there a business looted. That was an uprising. In Los Angeles there were lootings, torchings, killings. That, Ice Cube, I call a riot. JULIO L. FRANCESCONI Los Angeles Letters should be briet and must include the writer's name, address and phone number Letters are subject to editing and condensation. Mail to Calendar Letters. Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053 By fax: (2131 237-7630. THE EARLY RETURNS PAMELA SPRINGSTEEN Bruce Springsteen 77its week we offer a sample of the early mail on "How Bruce Got a Life," Robert Hitburn's profile last Sunday of Bruce Springsteen. Look for more next week and, hey, ifs not too late to add your voice to the chorus. No, no, no, no, no, no! Not another Robert Hil-burn testimonial to the divinity of Bruce Springsteen! Hilburn is so star-struck by the mere presence of "The Boss" that he actually lauds the man for "pausing frequently to reflect on a question before responding to it." Would someone please explain to Hilburn the difference between articulating a response and being slow on thought? Not only was this article hero worship of the first degree, but it was recycled to boot. He quoted the same lyrics that he had previously used in his now-infamous review of "Lucky Town" in addition to quoting lyrics from an album he reviewed five years ago, "Tunnel of Love." I'm really happy that Springsteen got a life. Now, Mr. Hilburn, why don't you? TODD WHISLER San Diego I have lots of respect and admiration for Bruce Springsteen. It takes a lot of guts to admit your failures and fears as a man in today's society. Listening to the bold honesty and positive outlook on human relationships on "Human Touch" and "Lucky Town" is reason to celebrate. Thanks for the faith and inspiration, Bruce. Excellent interview, Hilburn. GEORGE ZAVERDAS Hollywood SVtjIPAY.'jUNJE 14, I9?2 ,

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