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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 29, 2000. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

Editors are not supposed to be partisan in their choice

of stories and the play they get, but we have to admit that we were

pulling this week for Simon Saltzman and Barbara Fox to get the cover

treatment for their stories on actress Jane Alexander and Emily Mann’s

mid-season adjustment in bringing "The Cherry Orchard" to

the McCarter play schedule.

How come? For one thing, we were getting a little tired of

stories staring at us every time we walked past the parade of U.S.

1 news boxes around town. For another, we could identify with Emily

Mann’s challenge of having to revamp a previously announced schedule

because of the need for a little rewriting. See Saltzman’s article

on page 32 for a delicately phrased statement from McCarter Theater

regarding the decision to postpone the original selection for this

spot in its drama season, "The Stonemason" by Cormac McCarthy:

"McCarter’s decision to postpone was mutually agreed upon by Emily

Mann and Cormac McCarthy, who felt the play could benefit from further

development. Given McCarthy’s rigorous writing schedule, they did

not feel he could complete the necessary work in time for this season."

Having been on both ends of some "mutually agreed upon" decisions,

we couldn’t help but wonder how Mann adjusted. That part of the story

fell to Barbara Fox (see page 33), who discovered among other things

that Mann was able to draw on the wisdom of a Princeton University

professor of Russian literature, Ellen Chances, in drafting her adaptation

of the play from Chekhov’s original. (That was another breath of fresh

air — to be reminded that our community’s wealth of resources

includes talented people in the humanities, not only scientists and

computer programmers.)

Mann told Fox that she has actually written adaptations against even

greater time pressures. Still, we can only imagine that the process

must have gone to the last minute — an inexorable reality of any

artistic production process, whether it is mounting a play, hosting

a dinner party, or sending a newspaper off to the printer. Here at

U.S. 1 in recent months we have had our own adventures: Late last

year we looked at our publication schedule and realized that the April

15 delivery date for our annual U.S. 1 Directory would mean faxing

out information requests beginning in January. Psychologically it

seemed too soon for us, and — we thought — might have been

an intrusion for the companies getting the requests. We moved the

entire directory process back by one week — and received a record

level of participation from U.S. 1 companies.

That change forced us to change the date for our biannual commercial

real estate edition, which in turn changed the date of our children’s

resources issue. Along the way, of course, some articles came in as

planned, others did not, and still others that we had not anticipated

showed up at our door, delivered by prescient freelancers smart enough

not to pay attention to our pre-printed editorial calendar but instead

to go after good stories when they see them.

So for now it’s "The Cherry Orchard." Next week it’s residential

real estate — unless, of course, we come to one of those "mutually

agreed upon" decisions.

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