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Theater Criticism

February 07, 1988

In his letter to Calendar, Michael Lassell condemns the quality of theater criticism found in the Los Angeles area (Calendar Letters, Jan. 31).

Reviewers are, at best, inadequate to their task; at worst they are motivated by some dark, mysterious impulses to asperse productions that Lassell likes, and presumably, praise those which Lassell might dismiss.

In fact, when the rhetoric and polarized language is stripped away, what we are left with is simply that Lassell frequently disagrees with the mainstream of Los Angeles theater criticism, and that this fact must be to the discredit of the reviewing Establishment.

It is to be regretted that far too many of the theater-going public allow their choices to be made for them by reading reviews. To my mind, it is also to be regretted that many practitioners of theater, here and elsewhere, seem to fail to distinguish between the words "timeless" and "timely," in attempting to make classic plays relevant to our age.

What reviewers write is in the realm of the subjective. If there is such a thing as greatness in any objective sense, it comes down to a consensus of subjective feelings.

It is always well for the reviewers, the public and Lassell to keep that in mind.



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