That’s not all that has changed. As Paulus heads into her second season at ART, she has largely replaced the company’s steady diet of serious avant-garde productions with audience-pleasing musicals and adventurous interactive experiences. She has been a commercial smash, while shedding actors — and longtime staffers — who defined the company for decades.
Now, she’s facing the ultimate byproduct of success, a backlash. To her supporters, Paulus is a crowd-inspiring theater revolutionary. To her detractors, she is the Broadway-obsessed, box-office-driven director who has dismantled a prized institution.(From Some say ART’s artistic director has gone too commercial – The Boston Globe)
I don’t claim to have much information about ART one way or the other, and honestly, as I read this piece, I kept vacillating in my support from one side to the other. I think serious questions need to be raised about how theatre is presented in this country and about that live performance and drama mean, to both the practitioners and the audience. However, I am also very leery of making money, Twitter counts or other such markers as the sole arbiter of what direction a theatre should pursue.
However, one of the ways it might be interesting to frame the discussion is to ask the following: what would artists like Bertolt Brecht and William Shakespeare think of the kind of arts that Paulus is bringing to the table? Because, all nostalgia aside, I think they would completely dig what is going on at ART these days.