RE: "A Pair After Moliere," by Adam Langer, Chicago Reader, 10/6/95, pp. 42-43
I would like to recommend that you expand the first section of your venerable weekly newspaper to include a poetry and fiction section, where Adam Langer's theatrical reviews would be better placed: his incisive improv-style prose and cutting-edge poetry do not deserve to be sullied by association with the plodding, workaday prose of his colleagues. The man has a gift, and, like all gifts, it should be boxed, bound, and set apart for special consideration.
Should anyone lack the faculty to observe my subtle sarcastic nuances, let me indulge in a moment of glibness: if Mr. Langer is a theatre critic, he ought to spend more time on content than form. If, as this week's reviews suggest, he prefers to write poetry, he ought to be treated like any other poet of his caliber: shuttled off to some cold, dark place where he can contemplate his navel while the rest of us get on with the business of theatre. Reading his review is unsatisfactory from the standpoint of a patron of the arts seeking enlightenment; slogging through his poetry from the standpoint of a reader of poetry is unendurable.
Mr. Langer, the purpose of your reviews is a function of communication. Good communication requires that we communicate as plainly and simply as possible. Your poetry not only confounds your ideas by subjugating content to the tyranny of meter, it is bad. This is Chicago, you idiot--if you've got to get this stuff out of your system go to an open mike or a slam.
The disrespect shown to the artists reviewed by Mr. Langer when he chooses to shoot off a review in rhyme or in some cutesy "improv" prose is palpable: their work becomes secondary to his writing. It is grossly unfair that any serious theatre artist in this town should have to play second fiddle to the vanity-inspired writings of a dilettante like Langer. There are plenty of forums for experimentation in prose and poetry: the few pages of the Reader dedicated to theatrical review and criticism should not be one of them.