Rules of Reviewing | Letters | Chicago Reader

Rules of Reviewing 

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To the editors:

Achy Obejas, who reviewed MTW's Rhyme or Treason [November 13], broke the two cardinal rules of reviewing. First, she knowingly reviewed a rehearsal (to which she had not been invited in any official capacity) as if it was a public, finished performance. (The rehearsal was prefaced by remarks from the director stating that it was a work in progress.) Second, by talking and laughing loudly from the moment she sat down, she rudely disrupted the rehearsal to a point where MTW's staff debated asking her and her party to leave.

She's entitled to her opinion, and she's entitled to express it. She disserves her interests and the arts' interests, however, if she reports on a batting practice as if it were a game. Moreover, the performers--any performers--deserve a courteous hearing from someone who purports to be a professional reviewer.

The editors of the Reader should retract the review and scrutinize more carefully Ms. Obejas's work before they publish it again.

Meade Palidofsky

Artistic Director

Elbrey Harrell

Executive Director

Music/Theatre Workshop

Achy Obejas replies:

Meade Palidofsky does protest too much. Here's what happened: I called Beacon Street Hull House and was able to confirm previews for Rhyme or Treason, but Hull House couldn't give me a time. I then called Ms. Palidofsky for the information, identifying myself as a frequent Reader writer interested in reviewing the evening's performance. It was Meade herself who gave me the information I needed to attend. Additionally, when I arrived at Hull House, we were introduced by a mutual acquaintance--there is no question that she was aware of who I was, my affiliation, and my intentions. At no time did Ms. Palidofsky--fully aware I was there with an interest in writing a review--ask me not to for any reason. Lastly, if one is to believe her description of what happened during the performance, one must also wonder, since Ms. Palidofsky was sitting directly in front of me, why she simply didn't lean back and politely tell me to shut up.

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