School News: Dean Marner Censures Theater Chief

Dean Marner Censures Theater Chief

William Richardson is no stranger to controversy. During his tenure at Chrislip, the head of the Theater Department has raised many an eyebrow with his offbeat ideas. First there was the 2002 production of “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,” in which Linus appeared nude. This was followed by 2003’s appallingly non-musical version of “Beatlemania!,” The ‘2004 season saw Richardson turn to a highly experimental format with a play he wrote himself. Titled “In Praise of Shallow Graves,” the entire play consisted of actors trying to goad members of the audience into committing suicide. Such a production did not set well with the simple, God-fearing folks of Chrislip, who considered it derivative of the later work of black revolutionary playwright LeRoi Jones.

This year, perhaps attempting to make amends, Richardson returned to a more traditional venue. He planned to present either “Cats” or “Paint Your Wagon,” but couldn’t decide which musical to showcase. So he combined the two. “Paint Your Cats” premiered to hostile reviews and a hundred empty seats.

This may be the last error in judgment by Richardson that will be tolerated by Dean Marner. He is known as a strict disciplinarian who will allow a man only four mistakes before giving him a good talking to. Might Richardson’s job here at Chrislip be in jeopardy? “Possible, very possible,” said Marner. “Let me sum up the situation in one word: The man is walking on thin ice.”

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