This column hasn't been all it should be. I'm sorry I haven't been more diligent about finding and reporting exciting items, like when an ACT patron dropped his gun in the theater just before a performance of A Christmas Carol. (Turns out he was a private investigator and licensed to carry the weapon. But if we can't yell fire in a crowded theater, Lord knows we shouldn't be allowed to fumble a firearm in one.) Some of this is my fault and some of it is yours. I should flatter and bribe you more often and learn party tricks like Ego Juggling, Sensual Sidling, and the ever-popular Contempt-O-Matic to jump-start juicy conversations. You, on the other hand, should be more interesting--or at least less stingy with your gossip.

I regret not giving Two Birds and a Stone, by local playwright Amy Wheeler, a more judicious review in February. I called it "nasty, brutish, and long" and I stand by those adjectives. But the play had merits I didn't initially recognize, including fantastic breaks of comic whimsy and an admirably ambitious scope. It was a typical new work: messy, gutsy, and a hell of a lot more interesting than another goddamned Stoppard production.

I have generally been too impatient with local playwrights. A little critical indulgence goes a long way toward cultivating a healthy writing scene, and I'd much rather see a terrible new work than a mediocre remount.

I regret not coming to your show (but sometimes I regret coming to your show).

I regret writing about myself too often and not being interesting enough to justify the words I have wasted in autobiography. I should probably go to more parties and earn your amused admiration with fearless, stupid antics. You'd probably prefer reading about me getting arrested with a prominent artistic director and a local farmboy-turned-diva and our three-person production of Okalahoma! that knocked 'em dead in the exercise yard.

I regret jokes like that one, and that I'm not funnier in print. Or in person.

I regret that my editors have grown literal-minded in their old age--I had this strange story about a disbarred lawyer whose wacky litigious habits earned him the proud title of "performance artist" (and I don't bestow such laurels lightly). But the higher powers said it seemed like "a stretch."

Finally, I regret that you don't proofread your programs. The zine-photocopy aesthetic and cryptic shout-outs can be charming. But first impressions are critical, and it's hard to take your insights on the human condition seriously when I read that This "Post Modern" play teaches me the ravags of Sex-ism and why its wrong to hump orange's. As a special magnanimous New Year's favor, I will proof your fringe programs for a measly seven bucks--I know programs are the last thing on your list when you open tomorrow and haven't blocked the second act, but a misplaced apostrophe is its own bad review.

brendan@thestranger.com

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