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February 19, 1988 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-02-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I

Director
attrac ts
large
following
By MARINA SWAIN
Getting Milwaukee residents
involved in and appreciating the
performing arts has been on the
playbill of the Milwaukee
Repertory Theater's artistic
director.
John Dillon, who has directed
classic American plays in England
and Japan, and lectured on
American Theater in Asia,
Europe, and Latin America, spoke
to a small audience, including
Ann Arbor residents and students
about making drama accessible to
the general public. His visit was
sponsored by the University's In-
stitute for the Humanities
"I feel it is our obligation to be
part of the community," he said.
This obligation has led him to
change Milwaukee theater, such as
trying to involve minority actors
in traditionally all-white casts.
Dillon recalled an experience
where he noticed a Black family
watching a Shakespearean play
made up of a cast of only white
actors, which, he realized, would
be difficult for minority
theatergoers to identify with.
Dillon not only fosters diverse
casts but diverse audiences as
well. In his attempt to bring the
theater to the general public,

The Michigan Daily-Friday, February 19, 1988- Page 5
Library director to
return to teaching
(Continued from Page 3)

away while you are ahead,' and I feel
very much ahead," he said.
Dougherty said this summer, when
many projects are coming to an end,
was an appropriate time for a career
change. One such project is MIR-
LYN, an automated card catalog for
faculty and student use.
There are also plans to renovate
the Undergraduate Library, which is
celebrating its 30th anniversary this
year. He added that fundraising for
University libraries is well estab-
lished as a result of a $2 million
grant from the Kellogg Foundation.
The funding will help combat rising
serial costs as well as finance an
outreach program which will elec-

tronically connect the University li-
braries with public libraries in; the
state of Michigan, he said.
Under Dougherty's tenure, the li-
brary collection grew by one million
to more than six million volumes.
Among his other accomplishments
are the creation of MITS - a: fee
based research service for business,
the U-M Friends of the Library pro-
gram, and a residency program for li-
brary graduates.
He said in a press release that his
greatest regret was losing the oppor-
tunity to work with talented staff. "It
is not easy to walk away from the
best university library in the coun-
try," he said.

Daily Photo by KAREN HANDELMAN
John Dillon, visiting artistic director of the Milwaukee Reperatory Theatre, speaks about his obligation to
make theatre more accessible to the general public at the Trueblood Theatre yesterday.

Dillon noted that the Milwaukee
Repertory Theater keeps the basic
seating ticket price at $4.
"Art is as democratic as we
choose to make it," he said.
His directing style, though
avant garde, attracts many
audiences. "We don't have an
audience, we have groups of
audiences. They vie with each
other over what they like and don't
like."
In contrast to many directors.
Dillon rejects the current trend in
showcasing scenery because, he
said, a set should add to an actor's

performance, not overpower it.
The new theater housing the
Milwaukee Repertory Theater was
built to accommodate larger
audiences and has an additional
benefit: a "thrust stage." This
enables actors to get even closer
to the audience and become even
more of a focal point.
Audiences in Milwaukee have
been receptive ever since Dillon
became artistic director in 1977.
With a budget of $3 million and
21,000 subscribers, he has put on
plays of his choosing without
much intervention from other

theater managers.
"We've never had a situation
where we've said no to a certain
play - we find a way."
One way Dillon retains his
success is through keeping his ear
to the heartbeat of the
community. The community's
accessibility to the performing
arts is an integral reason to
perform, he said.
Dillon wants the Repertory
Theater to feature plays "with a
sense of immediacy or the play
will be as forgettable as the dinner
that proceeded it."

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