'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Thursday, August 25, 2005 ]

Yeah, yeah, I know, I haven't posted in a while, not even to tell any of you guys how the show is going.

Or, jeez, for the love of God, comment on Gwen Quirk's needlessly bitchy review for the purposes of a Critical Blowback feature.

Well, I'll tell you--I was going to, but then some clever-ass beat me to it.

Go ahead, read it--he says pretty much everything I was going to say.

Oh, but a couple of things I'll add is that it is pretty fucking low to give away the ending of a locally written show--especially when she's totally misinterpreted it.

I mean, it's a total cliché to say a critic "didn't get it," but...she really didn't get it. To the extent of I'm wondering if she's ever actually read a play. Any play. At all.

Okay, here's the one quote I'll pull because it's the one that pisses me off and, I feel, truly shows her ignorance:

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Howardcampbell.blogspot.com kind of brought this up, too, but "introducing the dramatic question" or, establishing the plot is not the first thing they teach you in playwrighting class.

It's the first thing they teach you in screenwriting class.

Now, apparently, I was supposed to set up a more tangible problem for the characters to solve (apparently, being stuck in a horrible marriage and having to combat a situation involving bitterness, disenfranchisement, and alcoholism all during a professional project that could make or break the future of the relationship isn't enough) as opposed to keeping the show on a more emotional level.

Did she notice that Who's Afraid Of Virgina Woolf, the play she compares it to, doesn't really do that either? Has she read it? Seen the play? Seen the movie? Or did someone just tell her that my show was like it?

I don't like to spoon-feed the audience. I actually like to give them some credit and not explain every fucking thing. If you don't have a sense of "who these characters are" by the end of the first scene, I have to wonder if you're paying attention.

Plus, there's this comment:

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Now, this is so dismissive of their performances and efforts to bring this show to reality that it makes me wonder if this isn't personal in some way.

Look, I was expecting negative reviews.

I'll admit it, I was looking forward to them.

But, for some reason, blatantly stupid, mean, and incompetent writing always seems to blindside me.

You're dead to me, Quirk. The next time you ask me what I thought of one of your plays, I won't just make something up to be polite.

Ahhhhhhh. I feel so cleansed.

Y'know, freecookiesnow told me I should have bitched about this on LiveJournal on "friends only," but dammit, sometimes these things get away from me--and ripping on the cast is way OverTheLineSmokeyMarkItZero with me.

Next time, Debra, I promise. Shit, I wasn't even gonna do this again, but that review totally brought out the William Munny in me.


The show is doing okay. The OnMilwaukee.com review seems to be bringing in a bunch of new people (I can tell because people keep asking me "where they shouldn't sit." Answer: Avoid the corners.), so that's cool.

Obviously, I'd like us to be doing better, but we're averaging about nineteen or twenty a night--which doesn't sound really good (because it isn't) but it's better than a lot of shows there, lately.

It's funny, all three of the reviews seem to be describing three totally different shows.

For example, the Isthmus said:

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And Core Weekly said:

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Weird. Damn weird, I tells ya.

At any rate, we're in the last two weekends, here, and again, if you're wondering if you should see it, check out the trailer (now with links that actually work!):

Small Trailer

Large Trailer

It's also mirrored at the Broom Street Web Site.

Just for fun, here's a mock-up first draft of the poster for the my next Broom Street show:

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That show, coming up next year, is about character of Harry Bowden trying to process the suicide of his girlfriend while trying to regain control of a hostage situation.

Oh, and it's going to be done in a radio format, and be in two parts. That's the plan.

Harry Bowden, by the way, is not only the main character of the show "Tech" (played then by Dave Durbin) that I wrote for "Computers In Love," but is the guy who Lynn, the lawyer from Orange Murder Suit (played by Molly Vanderlin), claims she had her "first orgasm with."

Lynn, by the way, also mentions that the firm she worked for once defended Polly, the kidnap victim of Welcome To The Terrordome (also played by Vanderlin).

Lynn also mentions that she once stole a law school classmate's car and hit-and-runned an old woman. This is the same old woman that the characters of Almo and Ives (played by R. Peter Hunt and Casey Sean Grimm, respectively) claim to have set on fire prior to the car accident (just prior, actually).

That car, by the way, was owned by Lester Green, played in Meeting Jerry Springer by Buck Hakes, who lived in the same dorm with Rosie Ruiz (Played in Meeting Jerry Springer by Liz Vickerman) who eventually got married and became Rosie Ruiz-Sackmann (played in Sledgehammer Party by Jennifer Pluff).

Another word about Lynn--she says she works for the law firm of Pierce, Hyde, and Gammon. She says that Edward Hyde (whose teenage son, Ellis, she has a crush on) is a nice guy, but that Gammon is a "sleaze."

Gammon (played by Jerry Shenk) appears in the Blitz 5 play "Because They Can," where he's defending pop sensation Kimi Rorschach (played by Kira Jebsen). Kimi was represented by West Covina Gloria Harding (Betsy McNeely) in the play FACEvalue. (In that show, Kimi was played by Jenni Polodna.)

West Covina Gloria Harding's half-sister, Detective-Sergant Harding (Deanna Reed), went on to meet her violent end at the hands of Joe and Kate (Buck Hakes and Molly Vanderlin), Psychos In Love. (Detective Harding being the one original character I added to the plot that was not in the original film.)

That's geeky enough for one day, huh?

See you at the show, kids.

posted by Rob on 9:16 AM | link



Hey Rob, have you ever had the same actor play the same character in two different plays? I don't mean to imply that you should try doing that, I'm just curious if you have done it. Hope your show's final weekend goes smashingly well.

By Blogger Chuck, at Friday, September 02, 2005 8:05:00 PM  

I actually tried initially to get Liz back to play Rosie, but she was going to be out of town during a part of the run, so we couldn't.

I'd actually like to do that, but that doesn't seem to happen (the recurring character I've used the most, Megan "The Gun" DuCott has been played by two different women, mainly because the first wasn't available for the second show).

By Blogger Rob, at Friday, September 02, 2005 11:29:00 PM  

Didn't mean to cramp your style. Believe me I know how it feels - I have such bad critical karma I'll probably never ever get a good review for anything I do ever ever again.

By Anonymous Debra, at Tuesday, September 13, 2005 10:47:00 AM  

Yeah, Iknow what you mean--these days, I feel lucky if they even show up.

There weren't any reviews for Sledge at either the Cap Times OR WSJ, which really shocked the hell out of me, to be honest, considering that it was sort of the FIRST BST SHOW AFTER JOEL'S DEATH AND ALL.

By Blogger Rob, at Tuesday, September 13, 2005 11:40:00 AM  

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