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Sunday, May 2, 2010

nysti needs a divorce not a trial separation

On Friday, David Bunce was appointed interim director at the New York State Theatre Institute after Patricia Snyder took a temporary leave of absence from the youth theater. Bunce has been with the company for 26 years, mostly as an actor. He recently directed his first play for NYSTI and is the company's fight choreographer.

On the plus side - Bunce is a talented guy and a person who knows the culture at NYSTI. He's smart, personable and will present a fresh new face to represent the organization. And, he can step in without having to reinvent the wheel. Bunce loves film at least as much as he loves theater, which tells me he's a story-teller. NYSTI's function is to tell stories.

If Patricia Snyder had been suddenly taken ill and forced to be away for 3-6 months, Bunch would be an ideal choice as interim director. Indeed, if he were to become permanent head of NYSTI, he has the potential to be a good leader for the organization.

The problem is - as I've stated before - the situation is not about finding the perfect interim replacement. The governor wants Snyder out of NYSTI permanently. By taking a temporary leave she is running the risk of snubbing the governor. That snub will offer him no recourse but to close NYSTI to achieve his goal. By appointing Bunce, it looks as if she's picked a surrogate not a replacement. It's a bad message to be sending at this time. The better choice would have been someone from outside the organization.

Snyder's temporary resignation came after the release of a damning IG report accusing her of mismanagement and misuse of the company's funds. Governor David Paterson asked the board to fire her and hinted that if the board didn't fire her he would remove the board. He's already appointed one new board member and has the ability to appoint more. If he gets enough of his people on the board they will fire Snyder. If not, he will withhold funding and NYSTI goes out of business.

The suspicion is Governor Paterson doesn't want NYSTI to go out of business. But he doesn't want NYSTI to survive with Snyder at its head. And her actions indicate she will return when things calm down. The problem is with her appearing to be standing in the wings, things aren't going to calm down.

It's all very unfair. Patricia Snyder did some marvelous things for the community through NYSTI. She deserves to be able to answer the IG report and redeem her name. That said, the Institute is better off if she defends herself without appearing as if she is still running things from behind the scenes.

It's time for a divorce, not a trial separation


Blogger Carolyn said...

I have worked with Dave Bunce as a guest artist in 3 different shows. He is the consummate professional, as are all of the ensemble equity company. NYSTI does not need a"divorce" from Patricia, but rather the breathing room to allow her to respond to allegations which do not have the weight of fact.Dave may well give her and them that much.Larry Gray

May 3, 2010 at 7:56 PM 
Blogger Doll said...

Mr. Goepfert...How successful have your efforts been in the theatre? It is interesting that you critique other producers, actors and shows and have NO success in the theatre. What do you know about producing? Mrs.Snyder has produced at NYSTI, on Broadway, Off Broadway, Internationally and has even won an Emmy. What have you done professionally besides constantly give negative reviews to NYSTI? Sounds like sour grapes from a failed producer to me. Arts Whisperer, I think not.

May 4, 2010 at 7:04 AM 
Blogger nystifacts said...

Mr. Goepfert,

You have it exactly right. David will do Patricia's bidding and everyone knows it. On top of which David will likely continue to hire his "very close" friend Mary Jane Hansen and her husband William Snyder (Patricia's son) to work at NYSTI...and with Patricia out of the picture (on paper) it will not be nepotisim.
There is one hope for NYSTI...a permanent removal of Snyder and a new board. Without the midst of a state fiscal crisis....thay are certainly doomed. After everything that has happened the NYSTI apologists still don't get it.

May 4, 2010 at 7:47 AM 

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