Another cherry-popping moment in my criticism career. My first pull-quote, and my first contextomy (i.e. misleading pull-quote).
If you're on various email mailing lists, you may received an email advertising the play Good Heif boasting:
"American Gothic absurdism! Smith has a strong voice and paints the rural waste-land in intriguingly mythic tones. A finely executed New Georges production."Just so you know, that "Village Voice" is me! But here's the full context from the concluding paragraph:
-- The Village Voice
Smith has a strong voice and paints the rural waste-land in intriguingly mythic tones. But her tale of frigid fundamentalists in the heartland stifling their children with their prudish prejudices seems overly familiar. The script never gets beyond the obvious thematic level of "Don't look, don't think, don't feel"—as a mob chants at the climax. Sarah Cameron Sunde exacerbates the schematics by directing everything at a fevered pitch with commedia-style physicality, rendering Ma and Pa especially cartoonish. While the actors impress in this mode—in a finely executed New Georges production—Smith's material may have been better served by underplaying, letting its American Gothic absurdism speak for itself.Well, it's a fair cop, I suppose. Can't deny I praised the things I did.
And, truth be told, Good Heif is not awful, just miscalculated, I thought. Read the full, full context in the V.V.
By the way, the printed photo that ran with it reminded me I did leave out one major plot element--this forest-sprite character "Ol' Heif" a kind of female-bovine hybrid. Just one of those things that didn't fit into my 250 words. Apologies.
As a consolation, I offer the "Good Heif" folks this pull-quote: "Definitely the best cow-fucking show south of 14th Street!"