Issue One: PICT firing
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I wanted to share my thoughts regarding the Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre board firing its founder and artistic director Andrew Paul because I have had the good fortune to be a volunteer assistant director for Andrew at PICT for several productions over the years. I have seen his gifts and his flaws close up.
The "business" perspective of a board will always clash with a dynamic artistic director. That's the nature of things. And indeed, personalities may clash. But discourtesy of the nature shown Andrew Paul is impossible to understand. Creative drive cannot be understood by most, and the board has just proven that. Andrew will go on from success to success, no doubt. PICT might survive if interim leader Alan Stanford is not similarly undermined. He's a brave man.
Furthermore, to the PICT board, because one can balance a ledger doesn't equate naturally with understanding the creative genius. Do you think a theater can exist and flourish without creative drive? Again, you at least had the good sense to ask for Mr. Stanford's assistance. God help him.
ROBERT C. WITTIG
The summary dismissal of Andrew Paul, the founder and artistic director of the Pittsburgh Irish Classic Theatre, was met with shock and dismay. His contribution to the Pittsburgh stage over the past 17 years has been magnificent.
The honorable, prudent handling of this decision by the board would have allowed Mr. Paul to complete the coming season, which he had prepared. We certainly would have wanted the opportunity to say our heartfelt goodbyes. This is truly our loss. Bravo, bravo, Andrew.
As public relations disasters go, the firing of Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's artistic director Andrew Paul must rank up there with those classic miscues of Netflix and Toyota. I've seen third-rate ballplayers treated with more dignity than accorded Mr. Paul, a 17-year veteran with PICT. He got the news from board president Eugene O'Sullivan in a phone call.
Neither artistic quality nor theater attendance was cited as the cause for removal. Mr. O'Sullivan said "the decision was about Mr. Paul's absence for part of the year and not about the financial or artistic success of PICT." Now all of this was known when Mr. Paul made the move to Las Vegas two years ago, and part-time residence is not a big deal in the arts.
It's time to correct a mistake before the damage -- already pretty significant in my estimation -- goes further. Bring back Andrew Paul.
The writer blogs about theater at www.dramaurge.com.
First Published March 3, 2013 12:00 am