Our Vicious Critics | Letters | Chicago Reader

Our Vicious Critics 

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To the editors:

Pardon my French, but I thought Anthony Adler's review of Ghosts (the Reader, January 26, 1990) was full of shit. It appears that Mr. Adler is one of those types that get their jollies through savaging the works of others, and as drama critic he is in an estimable position to do just that. His comments on Ibsen's play were pathetic and way off target.

He's so hung up with "schematics" of the play (whatever that is) and a sense of "foreshadowing" as he puts it, as well as stage direction that he completely overlooks the acting, which was simply outstanding in my humble opinion. I particularly found that Linda Stephens' interpretation of Mrs. Alving was strong, crisp, and utterly devastating. I further found Jeffrey Hutchinson's portrayal of Osvald to be well crafted and forceful, and not at all "hard to believe."

If the play is to be faulted anywhere, it is for Ibsen's vehicle, which I find to be quite creaky with age and manipulative. His characters are all black and white, with no gradations of bad and good. They are stock characters, with no function other than to make Ibsen's points, which as Mr. Adler puts it, were a call for "vindication of the rights of women . . . defenses of free thought . . . class war" and much, much more. On this point, I agree with Mr. Adler. But we part company on almost everything else, particularly his parting shot extolling the sets, and nothing else. That I found to be especially vicious.

Terry Sacks

W. Jarvis

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