Je Ne Regrette Rien!

Except for French Playwright Yasmina Reza, Queen of Mediocrity


The funny thing is she actually thinks she doesn't get enough respect.

David Ives might have unintentionally gotten at part of the problem: The plays are for its producers and performers an exercise in self indulgence.

"The truth is that half the reason her plays get done is because actors want to do them. Her plays are so chewy for actors. I think that colleges want to get their fingers into them because it's the kind of intellectual card game that students like to do. There's a crackling surface there for a performer."
Nice takedown, but is something missing from this quote? It reads like the beginning and end of a tasty bon mot, but without the creamy middle.

"The better the writing, the Reza's plays need thoroughbreds."

Or maybe I'm just not that bright.

Or both.
Seriously? This is your bone to pick? Try harder.
@ 2 - the full quote was in the print edition, and it was something like, "The better the writing, the less work for the actor, and Reza's plays needs thoroughbreds."
Branden, what is your intent in labeling a fringe company "no name"? To insult the company members? Why bother? To imply that the company is not worthy of mention in your column? This isn't the New Yorker. Just curious.
5. Huh... it just hit me that the "no-name fringe company" in question was Rik Deskin's Eclectic Theatre Co.

Maybe Brendan has a beef with Rik Deskin... I honestly don't know. It's more likely the generally elitist Brendan just doesn't consider ETC worthy of a place on his beloved Good Troupes mantle with WET, Annex and one or two other name-droppable troupes I can't be bothered to remember right now... and that Brendan just thinks little to nothing of every troupe that isn't tight with him and the paper.

I'd be a bit more bent if The Stranger's half-assed standards for journalism, and connected selectivity in their arts coverage, weren't made abundantly clear long ago.

You take it all with a grain of salt.
Gomez, I'm fairly certain the producing group was in fact without a name. It was done at the Fetherston Gallery and the poster didn't have any info on producers. The only thing I see is "Puffin Productions LLC" on their brownpapertickets page.……
@ 7's got it. No beef with Rik, no beef with the company.
Okay, thanks for the clarification guys. Rik does host a lot of guest groups.

Throwing out 'no-name nobody' labels in criticism is still not something I'd suggest making a habit of, however... even in reference to groups you haven't heard much of.

Listen to you silly cats who accuse The Stranger of "elitism." The Stranger has been supporting as well as critiquing the Seattle theater scene for coming on 20 years now. Yeah, they call out bullshit when they see it, and are they ALWAYS on the mark? No. They've missed a couple of calls over the years, but here's the deal: It ain't so hard to get covered in The Stranger's theater section. Make a play, throw a press release at them, and more than likely they'll come and give you a fair shake - known company or not. Hopefully you're doing a show with something to say. More than likely you're a group of needy actors gagging for attention, and guess what? You're gonna get called out.

There is a lot of bad theater out there, and The Stranger isn't "elitist" for giving it a name. In fact, they're just doing their job.

It's up to the rest of you to stop boring the tits off of us.
@10 I don't accuse The Stranger of being elitist, and I also don't feel entitled to anything, but I'm just saying, my company, Emerald City Scene, is in its 4th season, we've sent press releases for every one of our shows, and The Stranger has not once come to see one of our productions.

So, saying it's pretty easy to get them to come see your show is not necessarily true. There is a lot of theatre in seattle, and a lot of smaller fringe companies. But The Stranger does have their favorites (which they should) and they tend to cover those companies rather than branch out to those not already on their list (which they shouldn't).
10. There are dozens of plays each week. To be fair, Kiley (and whoever he can drudge up to see shows on his behalf, when applicable) see and review no more than three shows a week... partially out of necessity and obvious limitations (there's only one of him after all, and shows typically run only Thurs thru Sat), but still. But only a handful of these shows get a listing in the print edition, usually from LORTs and fringe outlets they have some sort of amiable relationship with.

Sure, maybe it's not elitism. Maybe it's just indifference in light of a slew of disappointing shows. This paper's coverage did reach a point a few years ago where it was really good. Before then? Yeah, I'd call that coverage selectively elitist. Now... I just don't know.

Kiley has claimed theatre in this town isn't interesting. But when he does find an off-the-beaten-path show (I recall the excitement in his Taphonomy review, and he's liked much of the work of his buddies at Annex and WET), he's usually been impressed.

I just think he needs to get off the beaten path and see better shows. Ignoring the LORTs for a while and focusing solely on the fringe shows might be his best bet: There's a lot of neat stuff going on under the radar, and an increasingly growing list of scathing LORT reviews indicate that artistically they're just not doing their job anyway. Why enable and promote expensive, creatively lacking theatre? And those LORT shows get enough press from the Times, SW and PI any damn way. They don't need The Stranger and the The Stranger probably doesn't need them either.

Sure, the paper might piss off a few AEA friends in the short term by ignoring their work, but it's all for promoting some actual creative work that otherwise isn't getting a spotlight. And it's not like Kiley can't catch those shows in his spare time if he wanted to.