So in my report card story for this week’s Style, I tried to cram a lot of ideas and information into a very short space with a predefined format. I spoke to many people who all gave me great quotes and opinions, which I mostly had to boil down to about a sentence per person. So, while I think the piece accurately reflects the big picture of what’s going on in town, obviously there is all sorts of stuff left out. This is unfortunate but is also just the way it goes.
Of all the comments I had to truncate to the bare minimum, I’m most sorry about David Leong’s. I’ve known David a long time and appreciate what he has done at VCU. It’s unfortunate that 30 minutes of his insight and explanations had to be summed up in one rather negative comment about the market for actors in Richmond.
I had contacted David to ask him what Theatre VCU was doing to support the local theater scene, what he was doing to bolster opportunities in town for graduates of his program. What he clearly and concisely explained to me was that his program is populated with people with great ambitions and one of the jobs of the program is to foster those ambitions. While he had many nice things to say about the local scene, he was unapologetic about the fact that the University tries its best to get its graduates in front of producers and directors in bigger markets. His focus is clearly on serving his students, not on serving the local theater-going public. Which I think is appropriate.
David expressed some regret that TheatreVirginia wasn’t still around, saying that partnership with a LORT theater used to be a great aspect of the program. He also said that, while placing people locally wasn’t a specific focus of the current program, he was very proud of the VCU graduates who have stayed in Richmond and done well here.
So that’s the full story behind David’s brief comment in the published piece. FYI.