A Sustainable Theatre: Jasper Deeter at Hedgerow by B. Witham

By B. Witham

Began as an audacious test, for thirty years the Hedgerow Theatre prospered as America's such a lot winning repertory corporation. whereas recognized for its recognized alumnae (Ann Harding and Richard Basehart), Hedgerow's legacy is a dwelling library of over two hundred productions created by way of Jasper Deeter's idealistic and made up our minds pursuit of 'truth and beauty.'

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Extra resources for A Sustainable Theatre: Jasper Deeter at Hedgerow

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She was a strikingly beautiful young woman who had also managed to secure a part-time position reading manuscripts for Lasky pictures, and had a vague sense of having an “adventure” when she answered an ad to audition for a role at Provincetown. Glaspell and Deeter were both taken by her youthful enthusiasm, wholesome beauty, and stunningly blonde hair. 15 Her blond hair—natural and multishaded—turned a lot of heads over the next two decades and led to a very successful stage and film career. Her devotion to Deeter (“my guru”) and to Hedgerow (“my church”) was legendary, and their correspondence over three decades resonates with the respect that she felt for him as director and teacher.

21 But a climate evolved and a kind of zeitgeist that was peculiar to the Rose Valley nurtured the infant experiment. Part of that zeitgeist was the way that Inheritors became entwined with the legends of the theatre. ”23 In many ways Hedgerow did inherit Inheritors. Deeter’s respect for Glaspell was foundational and manifests itself in the theatre’s commitment to civil rights, nonviolence, participatory democracy, and conscientious objections to war. The notion of seeking truth in harmony with a rural America is a concept that not only flowed from Glaspell’s play but also reinforced the Arts and Crafts credo that Deeter found in the Rose Inheritors 23 Valley.

How is a theatre born? There is usually a master—and often mythologized—story. But frequently there are many threads that taken together offer a more nuanced understanding. Or as one critic mused in reflecting on the enormous international success of Jerzy Grotowski’s Polish Laboratory Theatre and their reputation as “poor”: “What might you think having graduated from the renowned Moscow Directing Academy to find yourself relegated to a poor, tiny theater in the drab Polish boondock of Opole? If you can’t afford scenery, get rid of it.

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