'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Friday, October 05, 2001 ]

Okay, so now I have a weblog--or "blog," as those crazy kids are calling them these days.

Doesn't everybody?

So, what's with the title? ("Plaint of the Playwright," as of right now--I'm totally changing that thing later.)

Well, I'll explain:

See, in 1998, I wrote and directed my first show for Broom Street Theater, called Yoshi's Heroes.

It was a big hit, but that's another story.

Opening night, there was one reviewer (who shall remain nameless) who showed up in a really bad mood, and during the intermission, left and never came back.

So, who cares, right?

Well, here's the thing you might not realize about reviews: A good review or a bad review doesn't matter--any review can bring people in the theater.

Obviously, there was no review from this person.

Later I heard that she complained that the show "wasn't ready," that she hated the show, and that the paper (which shall remain nameless) was standing by her decision.

I wrote a very angry letter.

This letter basically complained that if this reviewer had been working at any other job, doing what she had done would have been considered blowing off her duties, and walking out on a show and not writing a review about it was, at the very least, unprofessional.

So then they printed an edited version of my letter, and titled it--you guessed it--"Plaint of the Playwright."

Oh, but that's nowhere near all.

Not only did they pad the letters section with random, out-of-context quotes praising the reviewer (like: "her...[writing] is really...[great]...I hope she [keeps] writing for good!"), but then they printed a response from her that totally missed the point.

Okay, my side: The reviewer was being unprofessional and punished me because she was in a bad mood (in the letter, I pointed out that she snatched a program out of my hand as she walked past me).

Her side: She "was under no obligation" to wrie a review since the paper had already done a story about me--hence, she didn't really have to do any work at all.

In that case, Linda, I got three questions:

1) Why even show up?
2) Why call yourself a reviewer?

And, most importantly,

3) Can we have our seven bucks, then, please?

See, the theater sends out letters to publication--it's a complimentary ticket for the reviewer and a guest. Hence, the understanding is, if you use the comp, you write the review, otherwise, you're basically just stealing from us.

Some reviewers, to their credit, don't use the comp, and pay for their ticket--sometimes to show support, sometimes to sneak in unnoticed, or sometimes to give them that out if they just don't feel like writing the review.

I will point out that this paper is the only one that always uses the comp.

She also reference my "snatching the program" detail as being false, since she "had to ask for one." What she left out was that she asked for it by saying : "You wanna GIVE ME A PROGRAM?!?"

She then said that the show (mainly the script) was "pretty bad," and conveniently doesn't say a) why it was bad, or b) that everyone else in the theater (including the other reviewer) loved it.

She ended her counter-point by writing that she just didn't want to hurt my feelings, since the show obviously meant a lot to me.

Now, this is patronizing, stupid, and just plain hypocritical.

She was in a bad mood. I'm not just saying this--I have witnesses to my version of the events, and let me tell you, everyone who sat around her noticed it.

But, I will point this out: She never reviewed a play again for that paper.

She went on to write reviews of other things.

Her first review after my show was of a shoe store.

"Predictably, they only sell shoes and shoe products..."

Actual quote.

posted by Rob on 9:40 AM | link



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