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A Shroud of Clever Phrases


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Dear Theater Review Editor,

I would like to offer the following reply to Nick Green's aggravating review of 42 Riverside Drive [March 3]:

HEY, NICK GREEN, YOU'RE SITTING ON YOUR HEAD! For a critique that tries to couch its author's most inconsequential commentary and analysis in a shroud of clever phrases, theater critic Nick Green's blockheaded attempt at a review hasn't a shred of insight (paraphrasing Nick's first shot from the stern). "Inconsequential actions"? Zach struggling to put together a multibillion dollar deal that will set up his family for life is "inconsequential"? Running over and killing a child is "inconsequential"? Leaving the scene of the accident, dragging his sister and brother-in-law into the quagmire is "inconsequential"? Letting an innocent man be prosecuted for the crime is "inconsequential"? Destroying his family is "inconsequential"?

And that word is just the tip of Nick Green theater critic's iceberg of idiocy. He describes author Michael Carey's dialogue as "Mamet-on-Prozac." Mamet is famous for his realistic, fast-paced, interruptive dialogue. Carey's dialogue matches it in every respect, except that Carey's dialogue actually sounds more natural, more like people we know. Every line of Carey's dialogue comes right out of our own experiences, our own frustrations, our own failures. And every line reveals or exasperates the growing tensions between these lost souls who are frenetically grasping at straws. It's the kind of family tension that makes you not want to bring friends home for dinner.

After condemning most aspects of the play, Nick Green theater critic praises Maura Pheney and Joe Dempsey for their passionate performances as "the constantly bickering parents-in-law"! Maura Pheney plays Anna, Zach's SISTER, and Joe Dempsey plays David, Zach's BROTHER-IN-LAW. Nick watched the entire play and never picked up on this apparently inconsequential detail. Parents-in-law/sister and brother-in-law, what's the difference, heh?

Well, Nick, if you want to be a theater critic, try open mike night at the local comedy club, where sitting on your head will be considered an asset. And throw away the Prozac, sis.

Terry Frazier

Los Angeles

Nick Green replies:

An editor introduced the parents-in-law error, a change I overlooked. Thanks for straightening us out.

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