Fluff not meant to be snippy
Thunder River Theatre Co. members appreciate the wonderful coverage Stewart Oksenhorn gave our theatre company and to me personally (less on me would have been just fine) in your Arts & Entertainment section of The Aspen Times Weekly. While I am thankful for the coverage, I find myself needing to clarify for your readers a quote of mine that was taken from the body of the interview, made bold and enlarged, to draw attention to the article. After receiving this incredible press, it may appear that I am somehow ungrateful, which is not the case.Be that as it may, in the quote, which is accurate, the word “fluff” is used, which to some may seem snippy or disparaging. The word “fluff” is not part of my regular vocabulary. When discussing the many genres and production styles in the pantheon of the world’s dramatic literature, I choose different words. Stewart Oksenhorn, after asking me for a list of plays Thunder River has produced, commented to me, “You certainly don’t do fluff.” It was in response to that statement that I discussed the differences that may exist in theatre companies’ missions. After all, it is the literature we choose to work on that helps define our aesthetic values. I have spoken with Stewart, and he has corroborated that he, indeed, initiated that word and dialogue and even encouraged me writing this letter.By highlighting that quote, it appears that I am in some way denigrating community theatre. That has never been and never will be the case. I am a huge supporter of ALL theatre ? theatre is my life. In my professional and academic career, I have taught, directed and acted on every level of theatre. I do not believe that theatre in our country would exist as it does, were it not for the importance and contributions of community theatre. Community theatre helps build a theatre-going public, it inspires younger people to pursue theatre as a vocation, and often produces quite remarkable productions. Sometimes the use of the word “community” with the word “theatre” is viewed as meaning amateur ? this may not be the case at all. The Aspen Community Theatre, for example, produces musicals, which I attend, that are as outstanding as many so-called professional musicals.As The Aspen Times correctly included, I do reach out to all theatre companies. Thunder River collaborates once a year with Colorado Mountain College Theatre, and is currently producing “Macbeth” with them. Thunder River’s resident actors perform regularly with the other wonderful local theatres in our valley when not committed to one of our productions. Richard Lyon for example, a Thunder River resident actor, is Henry Higgins in ACT’s upcoming production of “My Fair Lady.” That pleases me greatly, and our company is proud that ACT cast him. I was involved in Aspen theatre as far back as 1975, and continue to support all that is being done. I have also directed for the community theatre in our valley.As Thunder River’s founder and artistic director, I guide our aesthetics which are rooted in investigating that side of theatre that honestly portrays and reflects the world in which we live, be it a comedy, tragedy or high drama. And, we want to do all we can to continue supporting and collaborating with all theatre in our valley. The more theatre, the better.Lon Winston, artistic director Thunder River Theatre Company
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