'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Wednesday, July 10, 2002 ]

So last month I caught the closing night of "Sebastian and the Tattooed Love Librarian," by local theater critic Debra Neff Nathans, which had my friends Nathan and Dave in it.

It was a hoot, although for my wife it was a white-knuckler, considering the show is about a (as we call it in WWDN) "Fun Person Hag," which Betsy really was for...well, pretty much until she got married to her first husband.

Oh, and I would be remiss in my duties as a writer if I did not mention that as Debra Neff Nathans ran up to the stage to hug her cast, she zigged when she shoulda zagged and ended up accidentally mooning the audience. (She told me to tell y'all that.)

So I'm at the strike, which is also sort of the cast party, when Debra Neff Nathans (I'm mentioning her name a lot so that this comes up in a Google search) comes up to me and says:

"Hey, do me a favor. Count my toes."


"Count my toes. Tell me how many toes I have." She kicks off her sandals.

Is this a test?

"Yeah, it's a test. Count my toes and tell me how many I have."

Um...I see ten toes.

"Really. That's interesting. Because on your website it says that I have six toes, and that I'm a slack-jawed, drooling moron."

I point out to her that it was, in fact, Doug Reed who said that.

But you know, she got me so good, that damned if I don't respect it.

She tells me that she ran across my site while on Google, and that she read my "Critical Blowback" section on her. Marvelling at my analysis of every little paragraph in the critic's reviews, she asked if I realized that the critics only have a short amount of time to write their reviews, and as a result, there's a limit to how much thought you can put into one.

I told her that if my writing "Critical Blowback" caused just one critic to put more thought into their writing, then I was doing my job.

I added, that if you're going to words out there...

"That's right," she said, "it's only fair."

And added, "well, I like your shows."

(Except one, I thought, but didn't say--although one of the actors from that show, Ethan Mutz, was standing by watching all of this.)

What all of us found so funny about the whole thing was how swimmingly we all got along, considering how outspoken I am about my hatred for the critics in town, and the fact that she had, once, slammed me in print. (Never mind that the show of mine she hated she saw on what was easily the worst night of the run--WE hated the show that night, too.)

She even admitted that she was somewhat worried about what I'd write in this blog, considering she didn't think I'd like it.

Why not? What, just because it doesn't have guns in it? This is a frequent misconception about me.

Everyone laughs, and Debra Neff Nathans and I become, officially, cool with each other.

Afterwards, Ethan and I go to his apartment and play Elevator Action.

By the way, in other news, I'm the Blog of the Day. Cool, huh?

posted by Rob on 10:02 AM | link



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