The Theater: Clash over Cash

Does an actor earn his pay if he has not memorized his part? When The Petrified Forest was revived last month in Cleveland, Eddie Dowling (Shadow and Substance, The Time of Your Life) played the leading role. For four nights keen-eyed playgoers caught the actor nonchalantly reading his lines from manuscript.

Vexed, Producer Saul Heller refused Dowling his full $1,000-a-week salary. Dowling snorted that script-reading was better than prompting. So Heller appealed to Actors' Equity.

Though for an actor to read his lines is almost unheard of, Equity has no specific rule forbidding it; it can only penalize unethical behavior. But Equity chose...

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