"An absorbing, thought-provoking
experience. The play affords Alprin
"The dialogue snaps. Alprin shines
as both performer and writer. She bares her soul."
Extremely clever and poetic dialogue.
Alprin is a lyrical writer. A two-song set showed Alprin's gifts to best
"Deep meanings ... give you
pause to think about how what you do affects the lives of other people
around you. Alprin gave a really strong performance. Colin H. Smith, Laura
E. Quenzel, Joshua Steinberg and Jennifer Reitz were also very good at
getting Alison to dig down deep into herself."
Fry It, You'll Like It and An
On reflection, I should have approached the actor. I’d done so countless times (as I had with other actors) when the stakes were not as high. After rehearsals, I’d complimented actors for their talent, attitude and discipline. As an artistic director (as well as human being), I’ve found that as long as you’re truthful, it’s easier to praise than to pan.
But the nasty review affected me, too. It “magically” thwarted my innate behavior. Reviews have the power to change us. They can fill slates that might otherwise be blank. And they can promote safety in numbers. If the public’s first or only access to a theatrical experience is a negative review, there’s not much if anything to challenge that.
Public figures often have power because we allow them to. And when someone has power, he can also be prejudiced. While it’s very human to curry favor, let’s be honest here: it’s the hot and spicy opportunities that are the tastiest. So, whether a powerful person favors you because you’re the flavor of the month (safety in numbers again) or because you’re a hot event, hotel, restaurant or theater he’d normally pay through the nose for (twice in some cases), the result can be a good one.
The problem is when dishonesty gives birth to a negative result/review. So, whether a powerful person wakes up on the wrong side of the bed; whether he’s superficially reminded of someone he worked hard to forget; whether he’s filling pseudo-quotas or whether he’s a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-doer, he’s got the power to annihilate an effort. And in the case of a critic, he may be bitter about not having more creative outlets. Though critics can be quite creative. Some even pan the very thing that they themselves have done (often poorly) like puns, rhymes, riddles, assonance, alliteration, anagrams, the list goes on. Some critics go through hoops to prove how clever they are, so that it’s never clear whether they’re rating a play or writing one.
Watching this year’s Winter Olympics was
eye-opening. The potential for
Prejudice is a dishonest, dangerous conceit. Alice in Underwear taps right into this issue. Alison, the anti-heroine, is the biggest bigot. Ironically, she bashes five of my favorite artistic/ethnic cultures. Lewis Carroll fans will recognize my nods to his Alice in Wonderland. (I have been inspired before by Carroll's Alice with my dramedy The Crawl-Space Waltz.) Classical Greek fans will also recognize ancient themes and structures in Alice in Underwear. I’ve long been a devotee of ancient Greek tragedy, mythology and Greek amphitheatres. But if you are neither a Carroll nor a classical buff, it’s quite all right. This play is about much more than my favorite things.
I hope that Alice in Underwear reminds us that
there’s always someone more powerful, no matter who we are …
or think we are. And that whether or not reviews are happily-ever-after,
the ones that count the most are the ones you do for you.