The Playgoer: Never Leave Michael Riedel a Voicemail

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Never Leave Michael Riedel a Voicemail

Michael Riedel, this is Terry Kinney. You wrote an article about my play today that is absolutely full of bullshit and lies, and I have no idea what you are talking about.

We have canceled two performances TWO performances! because of my and [actor] Steven Pasquale's shooting schedules. We were trying to take a look at, which we were always planning to do, whether we wanted to keep some monologues in the play from off-Broadway or take them out. We tried it both ways, and we tried it with and without an intermission to see which worked better.

We're just working on our play, man. Nobody's walking out of it. It's not in trouble. I don't know who your source is, but it's a terrible source, and I want you to correct this because, because we're having people jump to their feet at the end of this play.Have you seen it? Have you seen this play? Or are you just going on hearsay?

You're very corrosive to theater, and this is absolutely uncalled for.

If we had cut a chunk of a play out and made it one-act, then you could call it the 'impressionism syndrome' or whatever the fuck you want to call it. But we didn't do anything like that. We've always meant to do this in front of an audience, this work. And people do it all the time. Have you ever heard of something called REHEARSAL?

It's ridiculous and it's corrosive and it's misleading for a little play and an unknown cast, for you to try to kill it in this way, so quickly, without any evidence of what you're saying.

You're going on a very bad source. You're full of shit and--

-Actor/director Terry Kinney, as transcribed by Michael Riedel...from his answering machine. (Before Kinney was unceremoniously cut off.)

I must say I agree that reporting on "trouble in previews" is among the least useful and most hurtful branches of theatre journalism. Which is why even on my irresponsibly unedited and unprofessional blog (or so I'm told) even I rarely if ever feel it worth indulging in. It makes good gossip, sure, and us theatre folk eat it up and pepper each other on the street and in bars for more skinny. (Favorite moment in Shakespeare in Love: before opening night of "Romeo & Juliet" one groundling whispers to another: "I heard they had trouble with this one.") But I've never found such stuff contributes much to discourse about what counts in the theatre. I'm sure I've posted an item here and there, and I'm more likely to reference back to such stories after the fact, when looking at a production in context.

I'll save that for the wild-west chatrooms and the well-paid professional journalists.

Meanwhile, at the risk of sounding hypocritical, that's one delightful rant and I'm glad to read it. Go Steppenwolf!


Anonymous said...

I agree with your thoughts. But then why do you frequently post and link directly to Michael R.'s NY Post articles. I never get the dirt from the post...I read about it here. If you really think Michael's hurting new theatre by causing controversy during previews--don't increase his readership. You can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

Well-paid professional theater journalists? And how many of those exist?

Unknown said...

Five, I think.

Playgoer said...

As to first comment--you're right. I do confess not only to linking to Riedel but to reading him regularly and enjoying his columns.

As I said, I'd be lying if I said we don't all enjoy such gossip on one level.

However, I do try NOT to link to him just when he's dishing about pre-opening tumult. I'm sure I have, but generally I only put him on this blog when he's doing more important reporting on changes in the industry or revealing profiles of artists. So I hope I'm being selective in that.

But I admit to being a tad conflicted and maybe not totally credible in the above rant. I guess I'm just super-sensitive these days to the unhinged attacks on bloggers from the sinking-ships of print journalism. According to them when dead-tree news goes down, all we'll be left with are malicious rumor-mongering from those internet-geeks.

As opposed to the exclusively "responsible" journalism said industries spend THEIR time on.

Take my point?