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Celebration Theatre

October 02, 1994

Jan Breslauer's coverage of Celebration Theatre ("Visibility. Stability. Now, the Next Step," Sept. 11) is an overdue look at L.A.'s oldest lesbian and gay theater. But her conclusions are quite different from those I made as a reviewer of Celebration's plays for much of the 1980s.

The piece suggested that Celebration had only recently staged socially relevant productions, and contrasted its "stunted" fare to East Coast AIDS dramas staged in 1985. But in 1983, Celebration offered Bob Hagedorn's "One." Two more early AIDS plays--"Warren" and "Do Rattlesnakes Bite in the Dark?"--followed in the fall of 1985.

The late Charles Rowland, who founded Celebration, deserves better treatment than to be scapegoated for sabotaging his own creation. Many directors found Rowland, though stingy, to be generous regarding artistic freedom. His pre-scandal staging of the radical work of Robert Chesley suggests that Celebration did not have "one foot stuck in the past," as Breslauer writes.

Rowland co-founded the first American gay rights organization in 1950 and in 1982 envisioned culture as the next arena of the gay movement. He was right, and his legacy deserves preservation.

STUART TIMMONS

Los Angeles

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I found many statements by Celebration Theatre Artistic Director Robert Schrock sad and very disturbing.

At one point he says, "For every 20 male scripts that I get, there's only one female script, and it probably isn't good." As a onetime member of the board and dramaturge for Celebration, I read many wonderful scripts by women. I think the real problem lies in his preceding statement: "Not being a lesbian, it makes it even harder for me to find what they want to see."

Who are they ? It sounds like he's talking about aliens from another planet. Either find someone (a woman would make sense) to read lesbian scripts who understands "what they want," or change Celebration to an all-gay-male theater. We aliens will just start our own.

DENISE McCANLES

West Hollywood

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