In its new incarnation, Intiman has become that rare thing in the ego-driven, reputation-obsessed world of theater — a humble endeavor, as reflected in the scale of its shows; the decision by its trustees to accept responsibility for poor past management; and the contrite overtures by the theater’s leaders to donors and grant-making foundations.
But local playwright and provocateur Paul Mullin takes the NYT to task in a post this afternoon:
I promised myself and you, gentle readers, that Just Wrought was moving on from being a Seattle theatre bitch blog, so I am asking you to help a homey out and chime in below in the comments section to educate The New York Times and Intiman’s Artistic Director, Andrew Russell, about why his statement in that paper’s recent article on the Intiman’s Summer Festival is so woefully ignorant. The condescending carpet-bagging quote in question: “Few theaters in Seattle have ambitious summer shows.”
Here, I’ll prime the pump: every summer Balagan Theatre develops a brand new, original locally grown children’s show and puts it on free in Seattle parks. I had the immense pleasure of participating in the 2011 offering, King Arthur and the Knights of the Playground.
Others are jumping in on Facebook ("THE RING cycle isn't really that ambitions...") and are flipping the NYT reporter shit for "skimming the surface," falling for hype, not coming to Seattle to do his homework, etc.
I'm usually all for knocking people's skulls together, especially the ones higher up the food/prestige chain, but I have to point out that: a) the reporter did fly to Seattle for the story**, b) the NYT has written about Intiman in the past and it's perfectly reasonable for them to follow up on its new incarnation, and c) a lot of the bitching sounds suspiciously like "why didn't they write about my theatrical endeavors?"
But still: Whether or not other theaters put up worthwhile productions in the summertime—and they do—it's a damned dangerous thing to minimize your notoriously thin-skinned peers in the NYT on the same weekend that you're opening a fledgling summer festival.
Good luck, everybody!
* It was both kinds of Marxist—Groucho and Karl—and a little uneven. My review will come out this week.
** I know because we had an email conversation about it this morning. You can always, you know, ask people things before flying off the handle.