Letters to the Editor
To the Editors,
This letter is in regards to Noah Lange’s Oct. 11 column, “Much A-don’t about Abridgments.” While I respect Mr. Lange’s freedom to his opinion, I would like to rebut several of his points. It should be noted that as a member of the cast, I have a vested interest, but I believe my points are valid nonetheless.
In the article, Mr. Lange places the greatest importance on monologue. It is important to understand the difference between monologue and soliloquy. A soliloquy is a special type of monologue in which the character’s inner thoughts are expressed. I think that soliloquy is what Mr. Lange wants to discuss, as he defines monologue as: “allow[ing] us to understand characters’ motivations, [and] hint[ing] at thoughts left unsaid.” Yet I am unsure, as the examples Mr. Lange gives are simply monologues to other characters. They do not reveal any hidden motivations or thoughts left unsaid, because the thoughts are said and the motivations are made known to the other characters
Mr. Lange quotes two specific phrases whose cutting contributed to the “emotionally flat romantic comedy” presented. The first is Beatrice’s line, “over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust.” This line was not cut. The second is Benedick’s, “all disquiet, horror and perturbation.” Mr. Lange takes this line out of context. Benedick is not addressing the gender politic; he is upset because Beatrice was mean to him. Mr. Lange wants the protagonists’ relationship to be “vicious” and “vitriolic,” but he forgets that at the end of the play, they get married.
As to the exclusion of Balthasar, yes, he was not in this production. However, he was in Dr. Muggli’s abridged script, and it was through technical issues that the character was not included. Nevertheless, the character is generally insignificant, having 11 lines throughout the whole show. His one significant line is a song re-emphasizing that love can be tricky, saying “Men were deceivers ever, / One foot in sea and one on shore, / To one thing constant never.” I hardly hold this song discussing how men can be wishy-washy to be “valuable and disturbing insight.”
All of this is to be taken into account before considering any practical considerations. It would be impossible for any college theatre company to put together a three-hour performance with only one month to rehearse, and no audience would want to sit outside in the cold of October for that length of time.
My greatest qualm with this article, however, was that it was published while the show was still running. It was in bad taste for the editors to run such a negative column of a show in which Luther students were still participating, possibly dissuading an audience from coming. This is especially the case seeing as Mr. Lange did not review the acting of the play, but the construction.
Furthermore, this article acts as a thinly veiled attack against Dr. Muggli, which is not only disrespectful to the well-respected professor, but to the entire production who put their trust into Dr. Muggli’s abridgment.
-Maxwell R. Lafontant (‘13)