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Trey Graham’s article on the Hyacinth Theater Company’s production of my play Love in Exile was not so much a review as a personal attack on me (Curtain Calls, 8/15). By suggesting that any company would be formed primarily to “produce the work of its founder,” Graham betrays a basic misunderstanding of the business and mechanics of running a new theater enterprise. With budgetary constraints what they are and the almost insane competition among theater groups in this area, using my own play for our first production was as much a business decision as an artistic one. First, I own the rights, which means I don’t have to purchase the rights to someone else’s play. Secondly, many people know V.I. Lenin as a Soviet-era icon, but they know little of him as a man. The name recognition alone sparks an interest in theatergoers.
As to the quality of the play and the production, I must add that other reviewers have been more charitable, and that by sheer word of mouth we keep getting people to show up for performances. Most of them, I think, come away satisfied with the result. No, we don’t claim the production, the acting, or the script is flawless. And, yes, our next several productions will be based on the works of other authors. But I will say this: During a brief conversation with Graham on the phone two days before he set foot in the theater, I knew from his arrogance that his review would be negative. His behavior at the performance was no less offensive. That says more about Graham than his “review” could ever say about Love in Exile.
Hyacinth Theater Company