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Ranting Is The Best Revenge / 16 октября 2007 г.

When his play was savaged by a Chicago critic, theatre director Billy Bermingham refused to turn the other cheek … he just slammed his critic in the next edition of the paper.

Copyright © News Design Associates Inc.

Adam Langer, theatre critic for The Reader, Chicago’s alternative newspaper, triggered a ferocious response when he wrote a scathing review of Fat Men In Skirts, a comedy staged at the city’s Torso Theater. Director Billy Bermingham’s response was an awe-inspiring eight-page, single-spaced diatribe to the editor that clearly expressed a serious lack of confidence in the professional abilities of Mr. Langer and his newspaper.

Langer says he never read the entire letter because “after the first few paragraphs, I got the drift of what he was saying. The tone of the letter did match the tone of the play, though. It’s not a happy-neighbor play,” he added.

Fat Men In Skirts told the story of a man, his mother and other airplane crash survivors trapped on a desert island. Described by Bermingham as a ‘satire’ and ‘black comedy,’ the play included graphic descriptions of cannibalism, complete with blood on the theatre stage.

“The editors were cautious, then amused, then decided the letter was funny, so decided to run it,” said Langer, who was probably relieved when they decided to ignore the suggestions offered by Mr. Bermingham in the letter’s final paragraph.

Here, for your enjoyment, is an edited version of what we hope will become a contemporary masterpiece of a new literary genre — creative ranting …

Since Adam Langer has deemed himself an appropriate agent to throw open my mailbox for “complaints, insults and petitions” in that pathetic diatribe you allowed him to pass off as a review of Fat Men In Skirts, I’ll consider it an open letter and respond now: DID YOU PEOPLE ACTUALLY PAY THAT IDIOT FOR WRITING THAT PIECE OF SHIT?

First Mr. Langer complains that the play “insults the intelligence of its audience.” Well, Adam, I think all of us — audiences past, present and future — all of us peons, minions and other cerebral sharecroppers would just like to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, LORD GOD KING LITERARY DEITY LANGER for taking the time to step down from your CLOUDBORNE THRONE OF KNOWLEDGE and TELL us by what standards we should be insulted. Don’t you even realize that YOU insult EVERYONE’s intelligence by simply making that statement? Fool!

Next Mr. Langer says the show “borders on pornography.” My first instinct is to lead Mr. Langer by his snotty little nose to a dictionary and make him LOOK UP THE WORD.

But on second thought, I feel it might be more constructive (in a therapeutic and learning kind of way) if he were simply to RENT AN X-RATED VIDEO and then compare the contents to what he saw on stage. I’m sure the stark difference will strike Mr. Langer in a LIGHTNING BOLT OF REVELATION at least HALFWAY through the tape.

Mr. Langer then proceeds to call the Torso Theater a firetrap. Now, correct me if I’m wrong here, but I don’t believe Mr. Langer MOONLIGHTS as a BUILDING INSPECTOR for the City of Chicago (although it is a profession he should consider entering full time; it’s really the only justifiable excuse for him ever setting foot in a theatre again). Torso is inspected regularly, is up to code and is completely SAFE, asshole.

After these futile attempts to keep everyone possible away from our theatre, Mr. Langer actually talks about the play. He first comments that it is “unbelievably long.” I think most people would agree that an hour and a half running time divided by a 10-minute intermission is about standard time for an evening in the theatre.

Perhaps Mr. Langer’s talents would be better served if he were to critique productions that weren’t so TAXING, like, say, PUPPET SHOWS at the STATE FAIR. No matter how many times his lithium-deprived attention-span is assaulted by machines and moo-moos, he’ll still be able to follow the plot — something he obviously wasn’t capable of doing with FAT MEN IN SKIRTS. I won’t even BEGIN to explain the symbolism and subtext of the play to Mr. Langer (for fear of triggering a MASSIVE BRAIN HEMORRHAGE when that much-neglected organ of his is SHOCKED into USE).

Hypocrisy, on the other hand, is a concept that Mr. Langer is quite familiar with. He accuses the playwright of resorting to “infantile name-calling” and then, in perfect form, only a paragraph later, calls one of the actors a “pipsqueak” (an actor who, incidentally, could KICK his SOFT, SQUISHY, FAT ASS).

Your paper does a great injustice to ALL by printing Langer’s juvenile, auto-fellating rubbish: to the entire theatrical community, to your readership and, in the ultimate irony, to YOUR VERY OWN NEWSPAPER, by CATAPULTING your CREDIBILITY as a theatre- criticizing medium like a FLAMING BALL OF SHIT, SCREAMING, SOARING RIGHT OUT OF THE FUCKING WINDOW.

Any publication with an iota of integrity or PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS would not only FIRE LANGER out of SHEER EMBARRASSMENT but would also CUT OFF HIS HEAD, AFFIX IT TO A PIKE AND PROMINENTLY DISPLAY THE SOGGY MELON OUTSIDE its FRONT DOOR AS AN APOLOGY TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY FOR SUCH A FLAGRANT DISREGARD FOR THE ETHICS OF RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM!!!

Billy Bermingham
Producing Director
Torso Theater
Chicago

Perhaps there’s the germ of a plot for Mr. Bermingham’s next satire lurking in here.— Editor

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