Frightened Young Playwright | Letters | Chicago Reader

Frightened Young Playwright 

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To the editors:

Far be it for me to continue this correspondence, but in response to Alan Blair's response [Letters, January 29] to my letter [Letters, January 15], I feel I must defend myself. To wit:

1. Mr. Blair refers to me as an angry young playwright. Indeed, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I am quite a jovial sort. As I originally wrote, some aspects of theater company policy, specifically as regards casting, give me the willies, but that makes me a frightened young playwright, rather than an angry one. Furthermore, the playwright in me generally enjoys the theater, even when I have problems with a production. What Mr. Blair seems to sense is the angry young audience member. This side of my person tends to become a bit rabid when I see a production which is not living up to its full capacities. Perhaps I have an exalted view of what may be accomplished in the theater, but this makes me naive, rather than self-important.

2. I intended to convey my dissatisfaction with both Ghost Watch and Charley Custer's article [December 18] in fairly specific terms. I hope that for some readers this attempt was successful, and that my remarks came across as neither arrogant nor irrelevant. I don't believe I ever reduced myself to name-calling, as Mr. Blair seems to suggest. In fact, I seem to be the one accused of "wearing army boots," what with "gums flapping and extremities shaking."

3. Anthony Adler was "spared in (my) diatribe" because I found that I agreed with his review of Ghost Watch. But Mr. Blair's suggestion that I am looking for a job is intriguing.

4. I saw Ghost Watch and read Mr. Custer's article. My letter was an honest response to this. From Mr. Blair's letter, it is difficult to tell whether he experienced either play or article. Whose criticism is more valid?

5. Mr. Blair intends to seek out my work so that he can avoid it. I intend to continue to attend productions at Chicago Actors Ensemble. I hope we are both happy in our decisions.

6. I expected there to be repercussions to my letter, so Mr. Blair's reply comes as no surprise. Also, all respect to Mrs. Blair, if I am going to be an ass, I believe in bringing my asininity out of the closet and wearing it in public. I am glad to see that Mr. Blair follows the same philosophy.

John Bliss

N. Marshfield

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