From the Theatrical Vault Dept.: Thanks to a recently acquired scanner that whisks piles of papers into PDFs – and its accompanying OCR program – I’m able to digitally store what used to take up too much file-cabinet space. And share unearthed clippings like the one below. This was a 1985 interview with Eleanor Koblenz, who was an Albany (NY)-area theater powerhouse. She reviewed shows for any number of papers, local and national, and also did marvelous work as a director. I’m distressed to see that the internet can find no photo of her; what you see below is from a photocopy of the clipping.
HUMOR IS A SENSE that seems to be uniquely human. In its more sophisticated forms it becomes the unexpected underbelly of tragedy. It’s also one of the dramatist’s most powerful weapons: get an audience laughing and you’ve got an audience that trusts you. Emotions become more accessible. This is the secret of such masterworks as Chaplin’s “City Lights,” the pathetic ending of which carries all the more punch because of the humor that has come before.
“When I first saw it, I thought it was a strange play,” said director Eleanor Koblenz. “It juxtaposes very serious material with a – what should I say? A quirky comic outlook.” The production, by Albany Civic Theater, opened last night (Wednesday) at that company’s playhouse. It marks Koblenz’s 10th directorial effort for ACT.
“It’s different from the kind of play I’ve been directing the past few years. and that’s what attracted me to it,” Koblenz said. “So much of the time I’m involved with plays with a strong dramatic content, or historical plays. So I saw this as being a real challenge.”