BY DAN VALENTI
BTF, Colonial Mix n Match
A quick comment on the merger of the Berkshire Theatre Festival of Stockbridge and the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield. This combination, essentially made to steady the shaky administrative ship at the latter, has a tremendous upside. This would include shared programming and flexibility in scheduling for both venues, and for the Colonial, greater business efficiency and reduced administrative costs
BTF producing Director Kate Maguire will keep her role there and take over administrative duties for the Colonial. They picked the right person. Kate, a person I have known for a good number of years, understands show biz, “gets” programming, and has a flair for what we can call the economy of quality. That refers to the fine line between not spending enough so as to producing theater cheesily and spending too much so that you jeopardize the finances.
THE PLANET hopes the Colonial gave her everything she asked for in salary, because she’s going to need it. The bricks-and-mortar restoration of this building was an architectural and aesthetic success. The programming has been a huge disappointment. When the Colonial was trying to get public dollars, it cast the lure of a year-round resident theater before us. We trusted. We got burned. It never happened.
The Colonial gone through several artistic and administrative directors. It’s been a helm no one wanted for long. There’s a reason for this. The shows at the Colonial have been for the most part unimaginative and disunited, lacking a sense of any defined or deniable mission. Their shows have had a “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” quality. It’s like the old “Ed Sullivan Show” with a puppet act, an opera singer, a guy twirling plates, a torch singer, and the Dave Clark 5. … only there’s no Ed Sullivan and it’s not TV.
We wish our good friend Kate all the best success in turning around the fortunes of what has been, so far, a white elephant. We would only advise one thing: give James Warwick a call. Kate, if you need his number, contact THE PLANET. He can help you.
Another Teachers’ Scam
Submitted without comment, as Rod Serling used to say, this excerpt from an AP story:
Every year, American schools pay more than $8.6 billion in bonuses to teachers with master’s degrees, even though the idea that a higher degree makes a teacher more effective has been mostly debunked.
For more than a decade, researchers have shown master’s degree bonuses have little impact on student achievement. But state lawmakers and other officials have been reluctant to tackle this popular way for teachers to earn more money.
That could soon change, as local school districts around the country grapple with budgets deficits.
There’s a sign on Shamrock Street in Stockbridge, just in from the intersection with Vine
Street, that says “Slow Children.” In between the two words there’s a cartoon of a young boy, who appears to be running. We noticed it today near the end of a refreshing and fun walk.
The sign is highway yellow, and a couple things stand out. First, the boy is wearing knickers. He looks like he’s from 1910. Could this be a leak in the collective unconscious, where the person who had to design this sign wants to go back to a simpler time? Carl Jung, we turn the matter over to you. Second, the wording “Slow Children” caused a lawsuit years ago by some parents with too much time on their hands. They said the sign was an insult to “slow” children, that is, the mentally retarded. Fortunately, THE PLANET knows that highway signs are symbolic.
Which leads us to the Three Stooges bit. They are lost. More is driving, and they come up to a road sign. He tells Curley to go out and read the sign, because “Maybe that will tell us where we are.” Curley goes up to the sign.
“What’s it say?” Moe asks.
“It says were in GOSLOW.”
If you don’t get it, explaining it to you won’t help you with the rest of your life.
Rhetorical Adventures of the Third Kind
THE PLANET loves rhetoric, that is, the fine art of using words and language to debate. We are many years removed from the polemics of the sandbox, where arguments are of the “Did not!-Did too!” variety. Others are not.
When we mix it up with such people, we feel we are in a fight unfair, in our favor. The sure sign you have won a debate is when the other side keeps avoiding the issue. Such was the case with a recent difference of opinion regarding a public event that THE PLANET had with a former local office holder. Local. It was NOT Nancy Pelosi or Sarah Palin.
Despite repeated attempts to have this person address the issue, this person refused, instead deciding to throw spit balls of erroneous speculation and raspberries of disproportionately angry accusations. Such behavior is the argumentative equivalent of a child in a tantrum holding her or his breath
At that point, the argument has been won, and we strike the tents, and move the show along to the next issue. We did, in genuine kindness, point out to said ex-office holder that she or he would be better off doing the same. Life is too short and all that blah blah.
We suppose we have he advantage in public debate because we take nothing personally, even when the attacks are personal! Others cannot do that, for whatever reason. That is why THE PLANET ends all skirmishes, especially those that end in victory, with our hand held out in friendship. When the hand is refused, as in this case, it’s not on us.
FYI, we never retract the offer of a handshake and a beer. Thus we move on, happily whistling with the current, borne ceaselessly into the moment (with appy polly loggies to F. Scott Fitzgerald).