THEATER CENTER IN THE DARK

Now that the Dallas Theater Center has hired nationally acclaimed director Adrian Hall, you’d think its problems would be solved. Not so. Recently, Theater Center board members were told that the theater’s season may be postponed for as long as six weeks because of the changes in direction.

Hall didn’t begin at the Theater Center until mid-June, which leaves him little time to hold auditions and prepare himself and the troupe for the coming season that traditionally begins in October. As could be expected, the news of the postponement more than ruffled the feathers of a few of the board’s executive committee members, some of whom reportedly remain intensely loyal to previous director Paul Baker. To heighten the tension, this is the theater’s 25th season, and will be the first time the center has not opened on schedule.

A few responses to the issue:

DTC charter board member Bea Handel: “The show must go on, and we must open when we did for the last 24 years… For us to open our 25th season black is wrong…. The new director is marvelous -no question about that -but we do need to open our theater. When a business changes, they don’t just shut down.”

DTC board member Don Malouf: “We have hired the best man in the country; I would defer to his expert judgment. The Dallas Theater Center has made a most major type of move; to evaluate it on a short term is inappropriate. . .He [Hall] will come up with something entirely acceptable to the Theater Center and the community. I don’t mean to be spouting the company line; that’s really how I feel.”

DTC Chairman of the Executive Committee Marshall Doke: “Any time you put on the table an issue of doing something different, there are problems. We [the Theater Center and Hall] have a marriage, but we haven’t had the opportunity for a long courtship. We’ll have to see what he wants.”

DTC board member Eva Hawley: “It’s really too bad. It’s distressing. The past publicity had made the public very apprehensive about the Theater Center; this will further the apprehension. It seems the current members [of the troupe] have enough experience to get it [the season] started. He has a good company here to work with already.”

DTC General Manager Al Milano: “Some board members feel nothing should change here. I respect their views, but I really don’t see what the controversy is. We’re plugging along. It [the controversy) is being built out of proportion. I’m not worried. I’m pretty confident we’re doing the right thing.”

DTC President William Custard: “This is no problem at all. To get everything in order and opened correctly, goodness, Adrian Hall and his crowd need a little time. Better to give a very brief delay than to rush. We’re going through a change; I’d be a little surprised if he [Hall] hadn’t asked for the time. The question is just how long.”

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