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August 31, 2007


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Kerry Reid

I just don't get the whole "this show was such a waste of my precious time I couldn't possibly be bothered to stay for the whole thing" mindset -- from people who then expend a lot of precious time telling us what a waste of time the first act is. Either stay for the whole damn thing or don't write about it at all. Why is that so hard to figure out? I have never, in over a dozen years of reviewing theater, once worked for an editor who thought it would be fine for me to submit a review based on half a show.

Yes, I know George wasn't getting paid to see the Fodor piece, and the company did (foolishly) apparently offer him tickets with no strings attached. But you're absolutely right, Kris. As a working pro, he knows better. And I think perhaps his hiding that crucial bit of information about walking out near the bottom of the review shows that he knows he was operating in bad faith by posting a "review" based on a partial viewing.

Now, as to the preview issue: when I did the listings at the Reader, we wrassled with this all the time. Sometimes it's a question of theaters (smaller companies, mostly) just not knowing what they mean by a "preview." I've had companies tell me "oh, we just mean that's an invited dress," in which case it shouldn't be in the PR at all. And then I've heard of companies calling something a "press preview" and being upset when press shows up. Hello?

I usually think of the long preview/short run phenomenon as something limited to commercial producers doing out-of-town tryouts, or who know they're sitting on a dog and want to keep the press out as long as possible (as Weidman noted at the panel). It is definitely disheartening to see nonprofits playing that game, and they should probably be called on it more often. But the question is how to do it without looking like a bully, I guess.

Kerry Reid

I forgot to add in my already-lengthy screed that bloggers have a clear-cut choice whether or not to write about something. Not so freelancers for the "MSM" who are on assignment and are expected to turn in copy on a show, whether they liked it or not, because that space has been booked.

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  • Kris Vire
    I write about theater for Time Out Chicago. I write more about it here.

    Any opinion expressed here is solely that of the author or commenter. No opinion expressed here can be assumed to represent the opinion of Time Out Chicago magazine.

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