Letter to the Editor – Response to “Theater capstone class pumps out plays”

By Ryan Hartwell, EWU Student

Dear Mr. Elliston,

This is the director of “Passing” speaking. I really appreciate you taking the time to acknowledge the capstone productions that are playing soon. I would like to point out some inconsistencies with the current article explaining what the play “Passing” is about.

The first thing I need to point out is your reference to “… a gentleman in a coma dying from AIDS.” First of all, the main character is not dying from AIDS; in fact the play never mentions the word AIDS, HIV or any STD of any kind. What you’re talking about, sir, is “plot”, not “meaning.”

Second, the play is more than just a man in a coma while the rest of his family and friends cope with it. It’s a mix between fantasy and reality, regarding the main character’s alter ego, Mario. He was created by the dying man, Pony, as a figment of his own imagination. Pony is the only person who not only sees Mario, but can, and does, interact with him; while completely nonexistent to everyone else.

Third, a stage reading is more than just “…simply going on stage and quoting lines.” The actors still give out strong performances and live through their characters.

The play’s author, the late Robert Pittman, wrote this play in the late 1980s when he was a playwright in residence at Amsterdam. The characters Pittman created for this play are all people we can relate to; friends, relatives, etc.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions about the play, feel free to contact me and we’ll schedule to meet with one another, if you like.


Ryan Hartwell

EWU Senior