Not sure how to read between the lines of the big NYT story today of the seemingly amicable divorce of Public Theatre AD Oskar Eustis and his managing director Mara Manus, who just announced her resignation. ("She said she had no immediate plans and no other job lined up.")
It sounds like Eustis has been frustrated by Manus tight control of the purse strings, that his plans have just been too ambitious. If so, then maybe this development is a victory for that vision, and we have exciting things to look forward to.
Here's the meat of the article. Decide for yourselves:
“Six years is a long time at a place that goes through as many changes as the Public seems to,” Mr. Lerer [chairman emeritus of the board, Kenneth B. Lerer] added. “Oskar should put whatever imprint he wants to put on the Public Theater and be able to do that.”
Mr. Eustis replaced George C. Wolfe as artistic director last year. He is the latest to take up the mantle of Joseph Papp, the legendary founder of the Public. Mr. Eustis called Ms. Manus’s decision to leave “bittersweet.”
“In many ways, the theater is in more stable shape than at any time in its history,” said Mr. Eustis. “It’s also a good moment for her to move on. I think she’s ready to build something else.”
“There is no question that we’ve had tension at times — that’s true not only for every administrative partner I’ve had, but for every artistic director I know,” he continued. At the same time, he said, “we’ve really shared a vision of what this theater is.
“The hard parts were the challenges that faced both of us,” Mr. Eustis said. “In show business, what you have to do is create the activity and figure out how you’re going to manage it.”
Ms. Manus said her relationship with Mr. Eustis had been “collaborative.”
“He came in with a pretty definitive sense of what he wanted to build on the artistic side, so it was just a question of how quickly we could build it,” she said.
Mr. Lerer said a push-pull relationship between the two was to be expected. “It’s a difficult balancing act,” he said. “Mara a lot of times has to be the ‘no’ person — ‘No, you can’t spend another $250,000 on Shakespeare in the Park, no you can’t do 10 productions, you can only do 8.”
I must remind myself the next time I have a fight with someone to describe our relationship as "collaborative."
Well if Eustis can now proceed with his wonderful plans without being so cost-conscious, may I suggest then, Oskar...Free Will for All! No more hogging of Shakespeare in the Park tickets by "Summer Subscribers" who can now pre-order up to 10 tickets(!) for themselves.