Angry Young Playwrights, Feminist Division | Letters | Chicago Reader

Angry Young Playwrights, Feminist Division 

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To the editors:

I just saw Victory Gardens' production of Stick Wife by Darrah Cloud, directed by Sandy Shinner. Stick Wife features some terrific acting and it really makes you think about why people remain silent in the face of terrible wrongs (in this case, the Birmingham church bombing in the sixties, but walking home you hear the echo of other silences). Stick Wife is a play with a lot of power and promise and it didn't deserve Anthony Adler's vindictive little review (February 12). And sadly he's not the only male reviewer who reacted to this play with a much too personal bile. People ask why more women playwrights aren't produced in Chicago. Reading a sophomoric review like Mr. Adler's makes me wonder why we want to be.

Don't let poor criticism keep you from a play that deserves to be seen.

Claudia Allen

Chicago playwright

Anthony Adler replies:

It's the ultimate ad hominem argument, isn't it? I'm a man and we disagree, so I must be sexist. Well, Allen's got me all wrong. I'm not sexist at all. The fact is, I disliked The Stick Wife because Darrah Cloud's last name refers to a natural phenomenon. And I hate it when last names refer to natural phenomena. Joan Rivers, Benny Hill, Sun Yat-sen, Admiral and Larry Bird, most American Indians--can't stand any of them. So now you know the truth. Allen and I are, however, in complete agreement about the terrific acting. By the way, if anyone needs a serious reply to Allen's comments about my alleged animus toward woman playwrights, he or she might check out my review of Maria Irene Fornes's The Conduct of Life, in this issue.

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