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Ganging Up On The Playwright's Baby

September 14, 1986

Thanks for printing Barbara Isenberg's illuminating article on the dubious playwriting "process" at the UCLA-Mark Taper Forum new-play workshop ("Theater-by-Committee: Everyone's an Author," Sept. 7).

It is hard to know who to blame: the Mark Taper and UCLA for fostering this travesty of producing; director Mark Medoff for encouraging it; and last, but not least, the spineless playwright (Clifton Campbell) who was actually willing to put up with it.

Hasn't this poor soul ever heard of the uncompromising positions taken by playwrights such as Bernard Shaw, Eugene O'Neill and even Herb Gardner: no changing of texts ? It makes one wonder just what kind of careers these and other talented writers (Miller, Williams, Inge, Stoppard, etc.) would have had under "the process" so lovingly cherished by the Davidson gang downtown. Is it any wonder the theater is in so sad a shape today?

Thanks again for a most illuminating--and courageous--expose. It was long overdue.

RICHARD HARBER

Los Angeles

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