Dept. of Misunderstood Thespians
Reader editor and Nick Green:
Thank you for your timely review of our latest production, The Vile Governess and Other Psychodramas [Section Two, March 26]. It goes without saying that any theater community, equity or nonequity, can benefit from an unbiased, qualified review from publications such as yours; however, after having read Nick Green’s critical analysis/review of Mom and Dad Productions’ latest offering, a few questions beg to be answered: 1. What was meant by the statement “supposedly spoofing Henrik Ibsen”? Unfortunately, it would appear that you are unfamiliar with the texts you allude to. We believe that anyone who has completed Theater 100 would most likely recognize references to three Ibsen classics: The Wild Duck (a young girl exiting the stage with a gun in one hand, beloved pet in the other), Ghosts (the sins of the father are passed down to the child in the form of syphilitic blindness), and A Doll’s House (a repressed wife living for years as her husband’s doll performs a farewell tarantella dance as she slams the door on her family and opens the door to her future). 2. You state the “three one-acts might as well be parodies of Chekhov or Strindberg.” Thank you for quoting directly from our press release. Obviously, prize-winning playwright Stewart Lemoine has drawn mainly from Ibsen, but he has also incorporated bits from the works of Ibsen’s contemporaries. You infer to your readership that you have a basic comprehension of Chekhov and Strindberg’s work, yet you fail to expound on where exactly this satirization fell flat. Did you not recognize direct “lifts” from Three Sisters or Miss Julie? 3. You state, “None of these one-acts can stand alone.” Well, they are not designed to. Strindberg created a new form of theater, quart d’heure, in which “teasers” were written for the express purpose of accompanying the main production (most notably, Strindberg’s 18-minute piece The Stronger, which opened Miss Julie). 4. Why did you neglect to inform your readers that The Vile Governess was awarded Toronto’s highest prize as an original script (analogous to our Obies or Tonys)? It is informing that such a proven piece should be seen by you, the reviewer, as “wretched” and “an aimless, convoluted mess.” 5. Finally, as to your parting comment, “Mom and Dad Productions still looks like a dime-store operation”: was that meant to alert your readers to our supposedly lackluster, pedestrian attempt at amateur theatricals, or was it a bitchy, personal slam from a bitter little man?
Mom and Dad