Monday, July 26, 2010

If I May Offer A Rebuttal....

I just posted the South Bend Tribune's obnoxiously vague review of our show, "Rent".

There's a rumor running amongst the cast that the reviewer is actually a homophobe who didn't like the show, and since you can't pick on the homosexuality without being sued for hate speech, decided to pick apart the tiniest, most insignificant things in order to fill a quota of words.

May I, Jordan Gamle?

I believe you need to actually get out of your office once in awhile and go see a few real stage shows. Try the Morris Performing Arts Center, just down the street. There's a delightful little group called the Broadway Theatre League - I'd like to see you write a review like that for them without having done some research on the show beforehand.

So you thought the music was too loud and pounding? Some of that can be blamed on the poor audio system that we have. "Iffy Sound"? We know. We have to work around it every year. Instead of making inane remarks about the quality of the audio, we you at least listening to the quality of the music? There are six extremely talented musicians - backstage no less! - who are mic'ed and can't actually see what's going on out there. Have you ever played for a Broadway musical where you don't get to see what's going on, and have to rely on monitors and an ancient televisions screen for your cues? Furthermore, "Rent" is a rock opera, a retelling of Puccini's opera, La Boheme. You don't hear a lot of dialogue at the opera - and rock operas are no different. We're terribly sorry that we didn't rescore the entire show to suit your taste.

You stated that the show got off to a weak start. The show got off to the same start that occurs on the big stage productions. It's the start that is written in the libretto. Lagging pauses? WHERE? The music and dialogue are non-stop from the moment the show begins. Furthermore, you also stated that the show moves slowly until the first big number. How is that possible? It's approximately 5 minutes between the opening lines and the start of "Rent", the first big number. Oh wait...... have you been watching the movie, Jordan? Because it's a little different.

Wait! That explains everything! You're a movie watcher! You've never seen "Rent" before, so you went to Family Video and picked up the watered down, school friendly version! I can tell, because all of the comments you made about how the show progresses, or how dark and emotional the actors portray their characters reflect the exact moods of the film. AIDS, drugs and homelessness are dark and emotional topics - it's actually rather self-detrimental to try to make light of those things, even for a stage show.

Try to keep an open mind. I don't for a moment think you're stupid or a bitch - you should hear what the cast thinks of you. Their opinions could get you fired. I just think you went into your viewing of the show without doing any research outside of watching the film. One of the director's said you came with a "Rent-head" friend. Did that friend have anything good to say? Or is she/he also a fan of the film?

You picked apart the shakiness of the stage while complimenting the ability to perform the entire show with one set. Thank you for noticing. It isn't easy to do so.

Thank you for complimenting our best actors, and bruising the egos of everyone else. Especially Josh Griffin, who plays Collins. He's actually one of the best. You stated that he got off to a shaky start as well, which we don't understand because Collins in being mugged in his opening scene. Did you want him to act like he was happy to be mugged? Were you also aware of how lucky we are to have him at all? Josh has performed with operas in several cities out west, including San Fransisco and Santa Fe. Yes, we know you complimented his voice. After you said he was off-kilter and compared his acting to Alex Leachman's. Two different men are going to have two different styles in the portraying of their characters.

Overall, if I was to give your review a grade, it would be a B-. You didn't really say anything terrible about the show, but you commented on some things that were a little odd. It's obvious to us that you didn't care for the show itself, and that's okay. It takes a certain kind of person to 'get' the importance of "Rent". Perhaps the Tribune should send their reviewers on some other night than opening night?

I just think you watched the movie and compared our performance to it. And that, Jordan Gamle, is a BIG no-no in theater world. Personally, I don't know what else you do, what else you have written or reviewed, or how talented a writer you are, but I don't think this review was your best work. I would like you to come back and see the show again after you've done a little more research.

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