Student Theater Debated

A recent meeting between students and a University overseer about the role of student theater in the Loeb Drama Center has led one member of the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatists Club to criticize the HRDC for not coherently expressing student concerns.

Chair of the Visiting Committee on the Lob Drama Center John A. Lithgow '67 met with a small group of students last Friday as part of an annual review process to manage relations between the three groups that perform at the Loeb: HRDC, the American Repertory Theater (ART), and the Institute of Advanced Theater Training.

While Lithgow and student participants said the meeting went well, HRDC member Adam J. Hertzman '95 criticized the club for not presenting a written position statement to Lithgow.

"It's ridiculous to me that we are not presenting a clear plan, point by point, to the visiting committee of what we would like, even if that just meant that we want things to continue the way they are," Hertzman said.

Members of the HRDC disagreed with Hertzman, saying had solicited input from students and were able to present their feelings to Lithgow clearly.


HRDC President Sarah T. Stewart '95 said the HRDC board held an open meeting for students to set an agenda for the meeting with Lithgow. "I felt like we prepared pretty well."

"It's not like there's that much to prepare," said James S. Gwertzman '95, tech liason for the HRDC.

And while Lithgow would not comment on the content of the meeting, he said he thought the students were "were extremely well prepared."

Hertzman's criticisms arise out of a longstanding student debate over HRDC's relationships with ART. Some students have said that ART hindersstudent theater by restricting their access tostages and supplies in the Loeb drama center.

"I feel like the ART is really problematic inits present form," Hertzman said. "I feel like wecould improve things if we pushed for more withthe ART and if we did more of our homework aroundthings like the visiting committee."

Other students, including many HRDC officers,have said that the professional theater groupserves as a valuable resource by providinginternships and experienced help to theaterstudents.

"The students seemed to be in a much bettermood than the last time we met, especially aboutthe issues around the Loeb," he said.

Gwertzman also said that students at themeeting gave a generally favorable review ofstudent theater.

"Things are going very well. One of the onlyreal issues that we've had fewer applications tothe mainstage and talked about ways to encouragemore people to apply," he said.

According to Lithgow, this year many members ofthe committee were unable to attend due toscheduling conflicts. As a result, he came aloneand will report back to the full committee.

The visiting committee is charged with writinga report for the Board of Overseers every threeyears. Lithgow said the next report would be duein June 1995