Everyone at Remains Theatre is familiar with reviews. We have received a lot of good ones and a lot of bad ones. We also understand and respect the fact that reviews are editorial, not factual in nature. However, when a reviewer moves beyond his opinion of a production he has certainly violated his editorial privilege. In his May 5 review of Moon Under Miami, Albert Williams has done just that.
One can imagine that Mr. Williams felt his comparison of Remains' fund-raising efforts to the plot of Mr. Guare's Six Degrees of Separation was a witty, intelligent turn of the pen. Unfortunately, the facts were ignored. Despite Mr. Williams' assertion, there was no "misuse" of funds and certainly no deception or fraud.
Remains Theatre is a reputable Chicago institution with a long-standing mission of producing adventurous, risky theatrical events. Moon Under Miami is simply the latest in a list that includes Moby Dick, Puntila and His Hired Man, Our Country's Good, The Chicago Conspiracy Trial, Of Thee I Sing, and Mad Forest.
Remains was understandably excited to have the chance to bring John Guare and Red Grooms to Chicago to collaborate on a play. We felt that such a collaboration was clearly worth undertaking. Over several months we assembled a committee of arts patrons who felt that the benefits of the collaboration outweighed the risks. Everyone involved understood that the project was adventurous and required supporters who were willing to take artistic risk. We are very proud that these individuals agreed with us that the project was worthy of support and that they helped us bring it to life in Chicago.
Everyone involved wishes that the production had received more positive response. However, our task as art patrons is not to produce commercial hits. We choose to support the nonprofit arts because we strongly believe in the importance of enabling artists to explore their creative imaginations and undertake projects that would not be supported by commercial forces. We are proud of having brought these two artists together. The Moon Under Miami Committee was formed to enable a very special collaboration and, in the process, contribute to Chicago's proud tradition of nurturing unique artistic endeavors. We certainly did that. And, regardless of the outcome of the production, the work and support of this important group deserves to be honored. They should all be applauded for their generosity. Chicago is fortunate to have such committed arts patrons.
Remains Theatre Board of Directors
The Moon Under Miami Committee
Albert Williams replies:
The primary definition of "misuse" in Webster's Third New International Dictionary is "to use incorrectly or carelessly: misapply," and I stand by that opinion of how Remains wasted precious philanthropic dollars on this artistic fiasco. No legal implications were intended.