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Waiver Theater

September 18, 1988

In "Big Change for Small Theater" (Sept. 4), I found Dan Sullivan's "Gardeners know that growth comes from cutting back" metaphor rather appalling.

His suggestion that new, highly restrictive dictums from the actors' union might somehow purify this city's theater movement by knocking out a number of the financially weaker groups smacks to me of the words of a Klansman rather than those of a theater critic. And who should be the "gardener" to prune these theaters, Mr. Sullivan, you? Or an authoritarian actors' union that is living in the '30s?

We, who work in some of these modest houses that play "for months to 25% capacity," may just have our own very personal and very precious reasons for doing so. Have you, as a critic, become so jaded that you, too, see only the holy buck as cause to pursue an art form . . . particularly in a city in which almost everything else is measured by that buck?

If I, as a professional, choose to work with other professionals in situations where I can do work that the commercial theater will never permit me to do, work that feeds my soul and not my belly, what authoritarian power has the right to prune me? I'm not a rose.

My hat is off to the Matrixes, Odysseys, Pipelines, Deja Vus, etc., and to the dedicated fools who spend their entire lives making these financially shaky endeavors work at all.

Keep on plugging, Sossi, Verdier, Schmitt, Stern, et al. Most of us appreciate you--enormously.

JOYCE AGULE

Studio City

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