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November 11, 2013

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Yours is an excellent analysis of this drama which very well portrays the conflicts which arise in those of us in the medical professions. The portrayal of the long work hours, incompetent staff physicians, the categorical imperative to save life and limb versus very human desire to play. Many of us found that work becomes play. That there is always the ability to meet medical demands and also that of a life partner. As you note the paradigm change, and that now at least 50% position of women. This brings other forms of the conflict but does not change the essential need for balance. Quality is more important than quantity. I too was somewhat surprised by antibiotics 1933. Also the cleaning of hands, 1933, was done by scrubbing not by dipping in what was supposed to be in the basins carbolic acid.

Ha. The phrase "both of them" isn't even in the script either. I was looking forward to this, but after seeing all the 'falsities' in their marketing materials, I wasn't expecting much either. Another self-indulgent production posing as 'art'.

I was really looking forward to it, too, and was disappointed. Still, it gave me a chance to see through the flubs and theories to the play .... approximately. I didn't have the script but I'm not amazed that "both of them" isn't there either. Many many thanks for writing. Yvonne

Interesting about the carbolic acid goof ... too much carelessness!

The hand cleaning in the final scene is done according to the script's stage directions. The previous comment is incorrect. The script calls for the bowls of carbolic acid. It's in the stage directions. The production does what the script explicitly specifies.

Before people comment, they should really check their facts.

Many thanks for sending in this good information. My impression is that the commentator was writing from a medical background,since most people don't have the the script of "Men In White" at hand.

Gotta love they are using your review, or a line of it to promote the show! Lame. And 'carbolic acid' is NOT mentioned in the script. Even lamer, Alliwatcher. As they tend not to use their scripts, maybe they should do their fact checking. (Bichloride, yes, but what do facts matter!)

As a proud donor, stick with ReGroup if you want to see these shows done correctly. Sorry i missed their reading of it last year.

Point one -- that must have taken ingenuity. I just learned about ReGroup through "Twitter" and hope ReGroup will keep me posted on their performances (otherwise than through Twitter which I don't check regularly). I am really interested (even the name is clever).

First of all - Yvonne, as I said in our previous conversation, thank you for your insightful thoughts on our production. We're looking forward to having you back at the theater for the rest of our season!

Though I appreciate that our production can inspire such a heated discussion, I feel compelled to address some of the comments being left here, which are not an accurate representation of what we're doing in our production of MEN IN WHITE.

With regard to the final scene of Act II (the surgery scene) there is no mention of carbolic acid in the stage directions. But "Alliwatcher" is correct - we do execute the stage directions of the scene in the manner that Kingsley wrote with only two exceptions - Kingsley wrote that there was a "row of half a dozen sinks" which, for space and budget considerations, were reduced to one washbasin. We also stylized the scene so that many of the actions were mimed - there were no actual brushes nor actual liquid in the basins.

For those who are interested, here is what the playwright wrote, and what we executed:

"Wren, in a cap and mask, is dipping his hands in the bichloride pan; Pete, at the washbasin, is cleaning his nails with an orange-stick, and Michaelson is scrubbing his hands with long, easy strokes of the brush... [business of the nurses redacted...] Wren holds up his hands so that the bichloride rolls down the forearm and off the elbow; he repeats this once more in the bichloride, and twice in the alcohol pan, then walks away, holding his dripping hands high and away from him..." The stage directions go on to describe the rest of the doctors following the same procedure.

So, I can't speak to carbolic acid nor its uses, but I do know that we were fully accurate with what Kingsley wanted from this part of the surgery scene. It was not a goof or carelessness that we approached the scene in this manner.

As far as the comment about the word "antibiotics" being used in the performance: as Yvonne and I discussed a few days ago, on opening night an actor failed to cut off another actor's line and the 2nd actor felt he needed to ad-lib to cover for a potentially long silence. This was an actor's split second decision in a high stakes moment, and one that has not been repeated. We feel very strongly that the playwright's words are paramount, and ask that every actor a) memorize fully, and b) avoid adding their own commentary to the play while in performance. But there are times when actors forget their lines or something happens in the moment that is unavoidable. We're human, we make mistakes, and we rectify them. One of the joys of live theater is finding a way to make adjustments on the fly when not everything works the way we want it to. This was certainly the case on opening night of MEN IN WHITE.

Finally, like any theater company would, we took a positive snippet of a review (without editing) in an effort to share this reviewer's thoughts on our production. We included a link so that any reader can reference the full review. We're thrilled that even with her reservations, Yvonne felt compelled to mention in her review that she admired our ideals and the depth we strive to achieve.

Again, Yvonne - thank you for your candor and for your fair review. I especially appreciate this forum that allows me to share my thoughts as well. And thank you to all of the commenters who are keeping our production alive and in your thoughts.

You agree with AlliWatcher and in the next sentence say she is wrong about the carbolic acid?? No wonder it's such a convoluted production. If Drs were bumping into each other, despite the small space, i'd get the hell out of that hospital! (Stupid me should have got the hell out of the show.) and if time appropriate work had been done, an improv wouldn't have resulted in someone saying antibiotic. "Juliet's not there? But, but... I texted her earlier". I understand and appreciate hobby theatres, especially young kids, but I came as you mis-sold yourself as "professional". I should have known any real pro theatre wouldn't need to tell people ahead of time. (Kinda like the person who tells you they are very good looking. We have eyes. We can tell if you are.)
As far as a "heated discussion", we're mainly dissecting your poor production; certainly not the play or issues.That's no discussion. Don't flatter yourself, though I wish you the best. Maybe you should stick with simpler plays
Good intentions? Likely. But the road to hell is paved with....

I fwd your review to them days ago, but as the seeing place rips them off often, they won't comment on it (at least online)! (They are about to republish MiW in vol 4 of the Group plays) i told them about the show, and though they could have stopped the production, they wisely let them hang themselves!) I will email your site to them again. Sure they'd love to have u review them. They've published 10 of the unpublished Group theater plays and great "first ever, professional" revivals. Don't think they use those pretentious words as the work is good enough to speak for itself! (If nothing else, their books are vital textbooks in my classes!)

Yikes TP. It's one thing not to like a production. It's another thing to attack the group members personally. Remind me not to invite you to any of my theater company's productions because if one of my actors gets a line wrong.

Chill out, brother! NYC theater companies should support each other - there is a difference between criticism (like this fair review) and being nasty.

Other than pointing out the directors contradiction, where did I attack anyone besides correcting the criticism for "a discussion?" Like everyone here not involved in the show, I'm attacking the poor production. Theatre that build a rep on reviving old shows or even give cheap tickets bring new people to the theatre. Congrats to that! BUT if the work is crap, as it is here, people won't return. Men in White just got buried for 80 more yrs. They have extra responsibility. Again, I'd have been kinder if they had billed it as a community theater production of the show, not "the only professional revival".

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