Department of Outraged Thespians | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Department of Outraged Thespians 

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To the editors:

Since Adam Langer has deemed himself an appropriate agent to THROW OPEN MY MAILBOX for "complaints, insults, and petitions" in that pathetic diatribe you allowed him to pass off as a review for our production of FAT MEN IN SKIRTS (see Theater, July 2), I'll consider it an OPEN LETTER and respond now: DID YOU PEOPLE ACTUALLY PAY THAT IDIOT FOR WRITING THAT PIECE OF SHIT?

How THRILLING to see the Reader DIGRESS back to that GOLDEN AGE OF THEATRE CRITICISM where unqualified ("oops," you don't NEED any qualifications to be a critic--although a little BITTERNESS from having already FAILED in the theatre profession like Mr. Langer doesn't hurt. So let's make that:), INCOMPETENT, IMMATURE, UNENTERTAINING, and UNINSIGHTFUL little turds like Langer can drink deep from THE SACRED TROUGH OF VENOM and then VOMIT finely aged, fermented bits of "Bury St. Edmund" and Tom Boeker all over your pages again.

But let's see what INFORMATION we can salvage from Mr. Langer's third-grade tirade . . . One need only glance at these sparse, poisonous scrawlings and immediately words LEAP off the page: "imbecilic," "pomposity," "exploitation," "sophomoric"--all the trappings and effete-just-add-water-sound-bytes and anal eruptions of the ASPIRING SNOB; hideous cliches: "chewing up more scenery than a termite colony," "subtle as a kick in the nuts," and the true RED FLAG of the fatuous, thesaurus-wielding pseudointellectual--an obscure reference to Hobbes. But I think it would be unjust of me to merely WHITEWASH Mr. Langer's review (he obviously spent a good five minutes composing it); and surely such a brilliant piece of writing COMMANDS more scrutiny.

First Mr. Langer complains the play "insults the intelligence of its audience." Well, Adam, I think ALL of us--audiences past, present, and future; the Reader's readership--all of us peons, minions, and other cerebral sharecroppers would just like to say THANK YOU. THANK YOU LORD-GOD-KING-LITERARY-DEITY-LANGER for taking the time to step down from your CLOUD-BORNE-THRONE-OF-KNOWLEDGE and TELL us by what standards (yours!) we should be insulted. Don't you even realize that YOU insult EVERYONE'S intelligence by simply making the statement? Fool.

Next Mr. Langer says the show "borders on pornography." My first instinct is to lead Mr. Langer by his snotty little nose to a dictionary and make him LOOK UP THE WORD. But on second thought, I feel it might be more constructive (in a therapeutic and learning kind of way) if he were to simply RENT AN X-RATED VIDEO and then compare the contents to what he saw on our stage. I'm sure the stark differences will strike Mr. Langer in a LIGHTNING BOLT OF REVELATION at least HALFWAY through the tape. In fact, Adam, the journalistic jism you shoot off during your masturbatory-MUCKRAKING makes your REVIEWS pornography.

Mr. Langer then proceeds to call Torso a firetrap. Now, correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't believe Mr. Langer MOONLIGHTS as a BUILDING INSPECTOR for the city of Chicago (although it is a profession he should consider entering full-time; it's really the only justifiable excuse for him ever setting foot in a theatre again). And let us not forget: Isn't this the very same Adam Langer that whined for an interminable number of pages about TRYING to secure a performance space by WAITING BY THE PHONE? (Helpful Hint here: it's easy Adam. You go to a person known as a "lessor" or "building owner," sign a piece of paper called a "lease," and then--pay close attention here, this is where it gets tricky--make monthly payments, of money, to this "lessor" person. This latter transaction is commonly referred to as "rent." Even the "Theater of the Moron," as you so expertly entitle us, was able to execute this simple task. I sincerely hope that bringing this little example of your ignorance to light in no way TARNISHES your STAUNCH REPUTATION as a BUILDING EXPERT. Torso is inspected regularly, up to code, and completely SAFE, asshole. After these futile attempts to keep everyone possible away from our theatre, Mr. Langer actually talks about the play. He first comments that it is "unbelievably long." I think most people would agree that an hour and a half running time divided by a ten-minute intermission is about standard for an evening in the theatre. Perhaps Mr. Langer's talents would be better served if he were to critique productions that weren't so TAXING on him, like, say, PUPPET SHOWS at the STATE FAIR. Hopefully, no matter how many times his lithium-deprived-attention-span is assaulted by machines and moo-moos, he'll still be able to follow the plot. Something he obviously wasn't capable of doing with FAT MEN IN SKIRTS. He states the show is nothing but mutilation/serial-murder/insanity jokes. No, Adam, actually what you described are usually called ACTION, PLOT, and CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. Granted, some of the more macabre moments in the play elicit laughter, but then maybe if you had paid more attention in THEATRE 101 you would have known that's one of the more typical tenets of the "black comedy."

I won't even BEGIN to explain the symbolism and subtext of the play to Mr. Langer (for fear of triggering a MASSIVE BRAIN HEMORRHAGE when that much neglected organ of his is SHOCKED into USE), but suffice to say that I was totally appalled that one of your critics couldn't even get past the relatively small amount of gore on the surface. I had no idea he'd be so upset! (Tell me, Adam, do you also run and hide under your bed every time the part comes where the FLYING MONKEYS GO AFTER DOROTHY?) I think one of our ensemble members put it best when he said: "Langer's either the biggest CRETIN ever assigned the title of "critic' or the biggest PUSSY that ever entered a Chicago theatre." (As for your dark insinuations about "homo/Negro jokes," not only are you completely clueless as to what our theatre is about, but it's quite plain you can't even grasp the basic principles of SATIRE.)

Hypocrisy, on the other hand, is a concept Mr. Langer is quite familiar with. He accuses the playwright of resorting to "infantile name-calling," and then in perfect form (only a paragraph later) calls one of the actors a "pipsqueak." (An actor who, incidentally, could KICK your SOFT, SQUISHY, FAT ASS. Touche.)

Your paper does a great injustice to ALL by printing Langer's juvenile, auto-fellating RUBBISH: the entire theatrical community (that has worked too hard to create the most exciting, diverse theatre scene in the COUNTRY, to receive such self-deluded condescension. If you think other professionals don't feel "that prick could have written that crap about US," you're dead wrong.); your readership (for blatantly misleading information); and in the ultimate irony--YOUR VERY OWN NEWSPAPER (by CATAPULTING your CREDIBILITY as a theatre-criticizing medium like a FLAMING BALL OF SHIT, SCREAMING, SOARING RIGHT OUT THE FUCKING WINDOW). Any publication with an IOTA of integrity or PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS would not only FIRE LANGER out of SHEER EMBARRASSMENT, but would also CUT OFF HIS HEAD, AFFIX IT TO A PIKE, AND PROMINENTLY DISPLAY THE SOGGY MELON OUTSIDE THEIR FRONT DOOR AS AN APOLOGY TO THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY FOR SUCH A FLAGRANT DISREGARD FOR THE ETHICS OF RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM!!!

FAT MEN IN SKIRTS is a GREAT SHOW. I'm 100 percent confident in it. Let's see if Mr. Langer is so confident in his review. I'll make a deal with you, Langer: I'll refund anyone's money ($10) who doesn't like the show, if you'll donate only HALF ($5) to Torso for every person that DOES like it. So I'd like to suggest, Langer, that you simply GROW UP, drop the meticulously studied EFFORT at a "hip/cutting"-Simonesque-wanna-be writing style, and put your MONEY where your MOUTH IS--provided, of course, that your own DICK ISN'T IN THE WAY.

Billy Bermingham

Producing Director

Torso Theatre

PS: Does this mean we don't make "The Short List"?

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