The Theater Behind the Theater at the Grove

As the saying goes, "Time wounds all heels." I think that becomes very appropriate with the news of Barbara Hammerman's resignation from GroveShakespeare ("Grove's Manager Resigns," Calendar, Dec. 19).

Hammerman, who included misleading statements on her application for the Grove job, again took the "moral high ground" by stage-managing the behind-the-back stabbing, er, surprise coup that scuttled the tenure of founder Tom Bradac in 1991. ("Yond (lady) has a lean and hungry look.")

Even though Bradac had led the company through many hard times and made it a highly regarded professional theater, newcomer Hammerman thought she could do it better. ("How . . . to get his place and to plume up my will in double knavery?")

Of course, that wasn't the reason given in the press release that followed Bradac's termination. Instead, Hammerman blamed Bradac's lack of fund-raising success. Shortly afterward, a Times reporter tried to find out Hammerman's own fund-raising record. After ducking the reporter for several weeks, she finally tried to dig her way out of the question by reinventing her job description, saying that fund-raising wasn't her responsibility. ("And (Barbara) is an honorable (wo)man.")

And now we read that financial improprieties are being alleged against the Grove by an independent producer who had leased the Grove-run Gem Theatre. ("Stemming it with hearts of (more) controversy.")

It's no wonder that all this has led to a dispirited staff (just how many people have left since the coup, Barbara?), a dismal season last year and an eroding of community goodwill toward the Grove. These very factors of discord were cited by the Leo Freedman Foundation in refusing the Grove another life-saving $250,000 grant this year.

It does seem that Hammerman is "Hoist on (her) own petard."

While having Hammerman out is a wonderful Christmas present, one can only hope that her undoing isn't the undoing of GroveShakespeare as well. ("So may a thousand actions, once afoot, end in one purpose and be all well borne without defeat.")

CATHERINE CURLEY

Garden Grove

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