To the editors:
This is in response to the review of The Absolute Truth, at the Puszh Studios, by Justin Hayford in the August 30 Reader. First let me say that the review was not wholly unfair and I'm not writing to whine about the beating we took at the expense of Mr. Hayford's pen. However, there are some points I would like to clarify, and some mistakes I wish to make note of.
Upon entering the studio, Mr. Hayford was given a program for the show, complete with a cast list, just as any other patron would be. We even went so far as to outline the credits in red ink for his convenience. When the review appeared in the Reader, however, we were informed that two people had been in the performance who were nowhere near the building, nor do their names appear anywhere in the program. Peter Murrieta and Aliza Shalowitz were credited with appearing, when in fact it was Katie Walsh and Pat McCartney. Good or bad, we feel that the names should have been correct. The Absolute Truth is an ensemble piece and we take credit for the work. How could this mistake happen if the reviewer had bothered to look at the program?
Much of the work is improvised, and so the show is completely different each and every night, different topics, scenes, and styles. I would like to know what purpose it serves to spend five lengthy paragraphs on two small scenes that will never be seen again? One of the scenes that Mr. Hayford felt compelled to smash involved the Soviet situation and dolls. A father, son, and niece were involved. The father, for the purposes of the piece, essentially represented white middle-class America. Mr. Hayford bitterly complained that an actor says that Gorbachev is "the president of Russia." The CHARACTER, father/white middle American, did say that. Yes. Yes, it was an actor's choice to do so. Most middle Americans, white, black, or indifferent could not tell you who is who is what at this point and time in the Soviet Union. The CHARACTER represented this, not the ACTOR. It seems easy . . .
Finally, Mr. Hayford chooses to complain about the fact that in Act II, in our world, the world we have created in 1999, the Democratic party does not exist. He says: ". . . statements like this demonstrate the group's naivete. If we're talking about a political system, the Democrats and Republicans are all part of the same system--they're interchangeable."
In The Absolute Truth world of 1999, the Democratic party does not exist. Our story, our script, our ideas. Is there suddenly a law against making things up?
At the end of the review, Mr. Hayford suggests that we read the paper more often. . . . May I suggest that he see the show, whatever show it may be, for what it is, a show, an exchange of words and ideas and hopefully entertaining as well. . . . I invite Mr. Hayford as well as the Reader readers to see and hear the show again.
Justin Hayford replies:
What I was given when I arrived was a press kit, which included a photo, a copy of the fictional 1999 newspaper, and a press release (with the wrong cast listing). Neither I nor anyone at my table was given a corrected program.