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In last issues’ “It Takes Two” article about Consenting Adults Theatre Company (“Dramatic Tension,” 12/22), I am described as having once been “on the letterhead…but no more.” The next sentence quotes my partner Lee Mikeska Gardner as saying that “it became increasingly clear” that my “approach to theater” was different “than ours.”
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To clarify: I was “on the letterhead” from early 1993, at which time Christie Stewart-Brown, Delia Taylor, Lee, and I administered the company together. When Delia left in late 1994, Christie decided to step down as artistic director and indicated that she wanted to take a less active role in the general running of the company. This task fell to Lee and to me, as Artistic Director and Producing Director, respectively. We already knew that we had different approaches to the artistic process of theater (without going into detail, mine often involves questioning assumptions underlying the modern American tradition); we also had discovered that we had different approaches to running this particular theater company. Briefly, I tended toward a more “consular” collective approach, while she felt this would not work, and favored a more hierarchical structure. After some discussion, however, we decided to give my approach a whirl. As time went by, it “became increasingly clear” that this arrangement wasn’t going to work between the two of us. In the spring of 1995, I unilaterally decided to leave the company’s administration. While I had more than one reason for my decision, the only reason I gave Lee at the time was that, given our different approaches to running the company, it would be better for us and the company if she carried on with it by herself (“It Takes One”?).
So, it was my approach to the administration of the theater company (and only this particular companyI have different ideas about others) that prompted my removal of myself from “the letterhead.” As I have noted, Lee and I had long been aware that my “approach” to theater in general differed from hers (the quoted “ours” is odd, inasmuch as no one else came into the discussion), but this was not involved in my stated reason for choosing to leave. As for my unstated reasons, these were mainly personal, including my lack of enthusiasm for focusing exclusively on “play-in-progress” production, which, while laudable and necessary, seemed limiting for me; also, after having worked with the company for three years, acting in or helping produce several plays of which I felt proud, and having directed the company’s two most popularly successful productions (Steak! and Her Aching Heart), I had concerns about repeating oneself, and also felt that I could no longer serve the company’s interests with the time and energy I believe such a task requires. I still, however, support the company in unofficial capacities, and I continue to believe in its unique value to the theater and general community, both in D.C. and beyond.
P.S.: I believe “CATCO” was the acronym for the Contemporary Arts Theater Company, and has never been adopted by Consenting Adults Theater Company.