Best Sense of When the Writing Is on the Wall

Timothy Douglas

Critics' Picks

You could see there was something out of whack right from the start. For his debut production as artistic director of Remy Bumppo Theatre, Timothy Douglas had chosen Mourning Becomes Electra, one of the vast and earnest dramas Eugene O'Neill wrote as he struggled to create an American equivalent of classical tragedy. And the Remy members in the cast looked lost. These folks have great chops, but they built their theater on playwrights like Stoppard, Albee, and Shaw, who can carry off a serious intention with a light, contemporary touch. Saddled with O'Neill's poetic diction, they might as well have been speaking Greek. That was in October. At the end of January, Douglas quit. It didn't seem to be an angry thing; when I spoke with him about it, Douglas was emphatically graceful. Some say he should've stuck it out, imposed his will, and made his mark. But I think Douglas realized he was in a rebound relationship with the ensemble, after the long tenure of founding artistic director James Bohnen. Those things never work. He was smart to end it fast.


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