Can you try to imagine what they might be upset about?
I don’t know why they’re mad.
Ehn maintains that the established regional theater network [of which the Taper is a part] has lost its purpose and is suffering from institutional burnout.
I’m not so sure it’s as clear cut as that, because theaters like the Arena Stage [in Washington, D.C.] and the Guthrie [in Minneapolis] were created in the ’50s and ’60s in response to a Broadway that in those days was doing only new plays. The regional theaters were created as homes for actors to do the classics, which nobody else was doing. I remember asking Audrey Wood [Tennessee Williams’ agent] about a new play and she said to me, "Mr. Davidson, first it will be on Broadway, then it will tour the United States, then it will be published by Samuel French, maybe you can do it then." When Broadway turned its back on new plays [in favor of musicals and spectacles], the regional theaters made an adjustment to develop new works — if you want to call that losing our purpose . . . But the institutional burnout isn’t true. In the past month, we’ve done three major workshops of plays that are already in the pipeline. These halls have been abuzz with that special kind of creative energy that is extremely satisfying. [looking up from his sandwich] I’m not B.S.-ing you here.