Dept. of Disgruntled Critics
Just as serious theater critics should not make harmful sweeping generalizations about productions, serious theater artists should not regard critics as one ill-informed, antagonistic entity. The letter submitted by "A Chicago Theater Artist" (Letters, June 29) makes an erroneous blanket statement about Chicago critics "recklessly and ignorantly slamming Chicago theater artists for too long." That individual should become acquainted with every critic's work before lumping them into one category. And his or her accusation of critics' ignorance is totally unfounded. This city boasts an impressively high number of critics with extensive knowledge of the theatrical art form.
I have been reviewing theater in the Chicago area for the past 13 years and have always believed that the critic is a crucial part of the artistic process--someone who fosters high standards and offers sensitive and insightful comments to allow the art form to grow and flourish.
Interestingly, a number of theater artists who complain so vehemently about critics' so-called savage attacks are often the first ones on the telephone urging critics to come and review their shows. These people express their disdain for critics while simultaneously seeking their validation. Obviously the unnamed "Chicago Theater Artist" who wrote that letter holds critics in high esteem--and didn't want to burn any bridges--by protecting his or her identity.