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LETTERS

Readers bite back at critics

June 05, 2004

Don SHIRLEY'S review of "Cyrano de Bergerac" at South Coast Repertory seems mean-spirited, to say the least ("A Nose Too Long," May 31). He faults the production for being too long, since it hews directly to the original text, and mentions that other productions he has seen have been shorter. Since when has brevity become a virtue when presenting a masterwork of the theater? Is it preferable to see an abridged version of "Hamlet" than to view the play in its entirety? Faulting Edmond Rostand's "Cyrano" for having too many words is like criticizing a Mozart piece for having too many notes.

Penny E. Schwartz

Redlands

*

In her review of "The Day After Tomorrow," Manohla Dargis dismisses Jake Gyllenhaal as an "automaton ... who does little beyond exercise his inner puppy" in the film ("More Chill Than Thrill," May 28). This characterization is unfair and misleading. Accomplished actors can be restricted by the limitations of a vacuous movie, but their essential talent remains uncompromised. Anyone who saw "Donnie Darko" or "The Good Girl" knows that Gyllenhaal is one of the most versatile and intelligent actors of his generation.

Mary Beth Culp

Rolling Hills Estates

*

Manohla DARGIS misses the point completely when she writes of "The Day After Tomorrow" that its story "is too silly, too woefully underwritten, to stake a claim on seriousness." It doesn't take much time into the film to see that it is a grand put-on, a sendup of the disaster films of all time. Every sentence, every scene is a giant cliche borrowed from other films, from the title to the credits. Who would want to take all this campiness seriously? I never laughed so hard.

Bill DuBay

Costa Mesa

*

The fable "The Emperor's New Clothes" came to mind when I read Christopher Knight's review of Julie Mehretu's paintings ("A Terrible Beauty," June 2). Where, exactly, is one to find "history, calamity, germination and spiritual interdependence" in this abstract painting? As the little boy who insists the king is naked, I would like to state that the painting is simply pretty, despite Knight's heavy-handed analysis and use of obscure art references to convince me otherwise.

Rowena Patterson

Malibu

*

Daryl H. MILLER claims that "Tabletop" "fails to satisfy" ("Looks Delicious but It's Empty Calories," May 31). The audience I sat with was uproarious with laughter. So the natural question is, who was it failing to satisfy? As far as I can tell, the only writing of note that fails to satisfy comes from a reviewer who took himself so seriously he forgot to laugh.

Alan Boinus

Laguna Beach

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