“Then we knew what we were for.” So writes Susan Glaspell, playwright and co-founder of the Provincetown Players, about the moment after they first heard Eugene O’Neill’s Bound East for Cardiff. I have myself felt that high swell of communal purpose, but our theatre calling is more subject to the tides than the old wharf that served as O’Neill’s first stage. The next time the tide goes out for you, reader, take up Todd London’s ten-year labor of love, An Ideal Theater: Founding Visions for a New American Art. The 40 essays, manifestos and letters are an electric testament to our theatre’s founders who, as Arena Stage’s Zelda Fichandler writes, “forged a better way, we scratched it out, hacked it, ripped it, tore it, yanked it, clawed it out of the resisting, unyielding nose-thumbing environment.” Read these visions, and remember what you are for.
— Gus Schulenburg, associate director of communications