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A Critical Overview of The Stranger

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I am going to make this statement short because you know how much I love doing these. I'm resigning as police chief. Look, I don't leave from a fight, but this is clearly the time to go. In my time in office, we saw some of the worst crimes in our city, but luckily statistics don't capture the moral abhorrence of crimes, just the frequency of them, so it currently looks like Seattle is as crime-free as it was when President Kennedy was in office. Say what you will about SPD's race problems, the out-of-control fascistic behavior of individual officers, and the department's poor management—the fact is that there are fewer marijuana-based arrests now than at any point in the last 50 years, and I will take credit for that success. So I'm clearly going out on top.

With those unpleasantries out of the way, I'm happy to announce what I'm going to be doing next. Ever since I was a young boy, my life's passion has been theater criticism. There's nothing like the thrill of a house quieting down as the lights dim; the untapped possibilities of an actor taking her first tentative step onto the stage, into the lights, being momentarily struck—you can physically see this, if you watch closely enough—with the expectations and goodwill of the audience; and the fragile first utterances of words escaping the lips of an actor for the first time.

I have spent too long on the sidelines; it's time for me to finally throw my voice into the mix. As anyone who has followed my tenure as SPD chief can probably tell, theater critic is the role of my lifetime, the part I was born to play. It's time for me to stop reading theatrical criticism and instead set my pen to the task. And perhaps The Stranger is the ideal home for my writing.

I'm not knocking Stranger theater editor BRENDAN KILEY, but maybe it's time for him to step down? Look at his review of New Century Theater Company's staging of The Trial, and you'll see what I mean. So many words in this review are dedicated to violence and conflict: kick-ass, shockingly, goose step, tension, high-pitched whine, menacingly, threats, and so on. Kiley even takes the illogical leap of considering this staging as an indictment of Seattle's criminal justice system! My reviews will be more inclusive, more friendly, more supportive than Kiley's, and they won't contain all this unnecessary social criticism. When you read a theater review by John Diaz, you'll be reading a love letter from Team Theater to Team Theater, week in and week out.

To see something more like what I'm planning, look at GOLDY's review of August: Osage County. I dislike Goldy's journalism, but his tone here—hyperbolic, giddy, like an infant blown away by the very concept of theater—is exactly what I'm gunning for. In fact, if he agrees to keep his opinions about the city to himself, I'd like to propose a partnership: If Goldy will accept me as his sheriff on this new journey into the heart of drama, I will gladly take him as my deputy. With Goldy by my side, I intend to do to Seattle's world-class theatrical scene what I've already done to Seattle's police department. Only, you know, in a good way. recommended

 

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