Thursday, September 29, 2005

Drama Queens of the World Unite

When the Provincetown Theater Company and the Provincetown Repertory Theater decided to merge this summer, they thought it would be fitting to rename themselves after another company founded in the Cape Cod resort nearly a century ago called the Provincetown Players. That group was founded in 1916 by Susan Glaspell and played a seminal role in noncommercial theater and produced Eugene O’Neill’s first works.

But then the fun started. A stodgy group of of historians and artists started voicing their outrage in newspapers and on the Eugene O’Neill Society Web site over what they viewed as the usurpation of a name distinctive in American theater.

The newly merged company caved in and voted to amend their plan. Next year they will begin producing plays as the New Provincetown Players.

“We then also passed a second motion that the word ‘new’ is integral to our name,” said Howard Burchman, president of the Provincetown Theater Company. “So in case those people are confused and think we’re Eugene O’Neill and Susan Glaspell, we’ve let them know that we are not.”


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