'Stop Gossipping and Get the Story Straight'

by Jeffrey Fine | 11/13/96 6:00am

To the Editor:

Monday, Nov. 11th's issue of The Dartmouth included a review of the Drama Department's production of "Mother Courage and Her Children." The reviewer described the opening sequence of Saturday's performance: "...not even a dimming of the house lights opened the Saturday evening performance...The soldier simply walks out on stage and begins one of the typical narrative monologues." Unfortunately, I did not see the same performance Saturday night. The opening, in fact, begins with a soldier climbing to the top of his tower. At the top of the tower, he stands for several minutes, surveying the area. After two or three minutes of the soldier standing on the tower, the house lights fade to half, and eventually they fade out. The entire stage (and house) is in total blackness for a brief moment before the lights fade up on the actor in the tower. Then he begins his "typical narrative monologue."

Later the reviewer describes "the use of Vietnam War-era automatic rifles." Apparently he is referring to the single "automatic rifle" used at the end of scene eleven, during Kattrin's death. The gun in question is, in fact, a model of an arquebus. I concede that the gun is not in fact authentic, but rather a model, designed after an arquebus from that period, not an automatic rifle from this century.

I am not writing this letter in response to the views expressed about the show. The article was a review -- one person's opinion. Everyone is certainly entitled to his or her opinion about the show. I am writing this letter in response to some of the inaccuracies in the article, which I have outlined above, to correct them. If the article contained such inaccuracies, however, how can I value the opinion expressed? While I respect it, I cannot help but question the worth of an opinion based on factual inaccuracies. On page 3 of that issue of The Dartmouth, there is a quote "Stop gossiping and get the story straight." The irony of that quote is that the review was just that: gossip. The reviewer did not "get the story straight."

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