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Misunderstood Playwrights Department

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Dear Mr. Thompson:

Thank you for your review of Remote, which surfaced in the October 6 edition of the Chicago Reader [Section 2]. To date, the projects I have been involved with have received predominantly positive notices, yet those that have garnered negative reviews have proven to be essential tools for my development as a writer/director.

It is my hope that this letter may be used as an essential tool for your own development as a critic.

You write that Remote is a satire on reality television. I admit, if I thought that I had written a show satirizing such an already-laughable medium, I would agree with your opinion. However, Remote has as much to do with reality television as Romeo and Juliet has to do with speaking in iambic pentameter. The reality-TV framework is merely a telling device, made simple and recognizable to engage an audience. To suggest this work is about reality television is to mistake an invitation to a party for a party itself.

Further, the assertion that I, as author, wish the audience to "pity the innocents" is perhaps more off target. By the conclusion of the final act, there is not a single character whose self-interest has taken a backseat to the benefit of others. That is a substantial part of what Remote is about: a reflection of the self-adoring, blame-storming culture we continue to devolve into. I reject the declaration that I wish anyone to "pity the innocents," because, as demonstrated frankly in this production, there are no innocents to pity.

I must also take exception to having Remote compared to HBO's Entourage. I confess I have neither seen the program nor could advise anyone of its premise, but comparing a fledgling theater piece to a multimillion-dollar cable enterprise is utter tomfoolery. Under such precedent, one could dismiss all freelance reviews as not being Gene Siskel enough.

It has taken over a decade of productions and dozens of reviews to find one so imprudent and imprecise that a response was warranted, and I am disappointed it emanated from a publication I have long respected. If you cannot take value from this correspondence, yet someday find yourself assigned to review one of my future productions, please permit me to send you a poster from which you can assemble a review. I can guarantee it would be just as accurate as your appraisal of Remote.

Vincent Truman

N. Wolcott

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