IndyFringe reviews 1

August 23, 2008
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For the first night of this year's IndyFringe Theatre Festival (aka IndyFringe or Indy Fringe), I decided to select four showsthat looked to be among the most risk-taking. After all, what's a fringe without something out there on the fringe? (Skip to the end if you want to read the rave and bypass the rest.)

Looking for the fringiest fringe, it made sense to start with a female Hitler. Which turned out not to be such a great start. Because the play in question, "My Friend Hitler," isn't much of a play. Yes, turning the Fuehrer into a trouser role does allow for a kind of attention that a traditional male performance doesn't. But actress Zehra Fazal doesn't do anything particularly interesting or groundbreaking with the part. And, as written, there's a seemingly endless series of forced "Remember when you..." expositional monologues. Ten minutes in, I was watching my watch.

I didn't look at my watch during the next show, "Peace on Terror," but that's only because I knew it featured nine sketches and so could count down to when the torture would be over. I'm not talking about the torture on stage, which involved a woman pretending to urinate into the mouth of a political prisoner. I'm talking about the torture of sitting through this ill-rehearsed example of a playwright with nothing to say who insists, at length, on saying it over and over again. Sub-amateur directing, acting, and design contribute to make this not just the worst production I've seen in four years of IndyFringe, but one of the most pathetic theater productions I've seen in my life. Bloomington's Theatre of the People is the culprit.   

Things improved (how could they not?) with "Stripped," offered by Indiana-based Twilight Productions. I still don't recommend it--its excessive voiceover narration and derivative "Educating Rita"-meets-"Striptease" plotting gets in the way of some decent dialogue. There's also an interesting physically transformative performance from Amy Pettinella as a troubled girl who turns to stripping but she's in the wrong play. Does the writer really expect us to want her to end up with the English-teacher-turned-strip-club-owner?  It sure seems so, although he's written as a jerk.

My final show of the evening, "Assholes and Aureoles" was of another order altogether. With local actresses Diane Kondrat and Karen Irwin giving breathtakingly funny--verbally and physically--performances, the show already looks to be the breakout hit of the festival. I'm not going to say much else, because the less you know about the content of each of the short plays, the more fun you'll have. Suffice to say that it's outrageous in very smart ways and that the capacity crowd I saw it with was rolling with laughter even before a word was spoken. Our reaction built and built to a passionate standing ovation when the show was over. If comedy shows had encores, I'd still be at the theater.

Full disclosure: The writer of "A and A" is Eric Pfeffinger, who I've collaborated with on a novel and a pair of plays. Our writing relationship is based on brutal honesty and he fully understands that if I didn't think this show worked, I'd call it as I saw it.

So I'm calling it as I saw it. DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW. The only downside is that it raises the fringe bar almost impossibly high. In order to appreciate the shows I'll see for the rest of the fest, I'll have to remind myself that this is an anomaly, not the standard.
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  • unfortunately there were major technical difficulties on opening night and some of the plot was lost in the dropped sound cues and misfired lighting cues. i've actually never seen educating rita or striptease but i have seen star trek wrath of khan and urban cowboy. i did write the main character with certain asshole characteristics, but it was intentional. thanks for coming to the show and enjoy the fringe fest! amy
  • I have not yet seen the other shows you mention, Lou, but I agree with you COMPLETELY about Assholes and Aureoles. Oh, my goodness, what a treat!

    Hope Baugh
    www.IndyTheatreHabit.com
  • I disagree with your assessment of Stripped: I highly recommend it! I thought it was smart, funny (laugh-out-loud funny in parts, and the rest of the audience agreed) and moving. And as a friend of mine pointed out, you felt like you knew the characters. Sure, they were flawed. But that's what made them so real! Fantastic job writing, directing and starring, Amy!
  • I saw 'Stripped' opening night also and so go the 'benefit' of the missed sounds cues which I did notice, didn't noticed the lighting missed cues. I agree with Lou that the narrative somehow didn't fit. It felt contrived. The script it did have good moments too.

    I also saw 'Adventures In Mating'. Again, opening night and there were some missed lines. The actors said afterwards it would have been funnier if we'd chosen different scenarios (the audience chooses the direction of the play). What kind of recommendation is that? I intended to move on to 'Assholes' but was disheartened by the two shows I'd seen so I went home. Bummer.
  • Wow, Lou ... Why the hate? Your blurb of Theatre of the People's Peace on Terror is your opinion, sure, but why the blatant hostility. Is it not enough that your friend and collaborator Eric Pfeffinger earned the New Play award and his show has received all kinds of favorable press? Must you verbally attack the Peace on Terror cast and crew to show how much better Mr. Pfeffinger's show is?

    For the record, we can't say for sure if Peace on Terror is the worst production you've seen in four years at the IndyFringe or it's one of the most pathetic theater productions you've seen in your life. We can say, however, that the audience feedback we received from seven talk-backs after seven performances in Bloomington ... and from audiences at the Indy Fringe thus far ... is quite different than your view and quite encouraging to all involved.

    Peace on Terror isn't the greatest Fringe show, nor the greatest show ever. In fact, it's a first run of a new play by a new playwright and a new theatre company. The show is certainly well-rehearsed and has had a extensive run already, and although we have many green faces the show certainly doesn't merit your sub-amateur attack on the director, actors, and designers. But, again, you're entitled to your opinion.

    Your verbal abuse of Albert Powell makes sense too when your readers consider your relationship to Mr. Pfeffinger, although in all fairness Mr. Powell never claims to have anything to say and even laughs off that suggestion as nonsense in the program production note. It's okay if you didn't like the show's writing, the show's spectacle, or the show's talent. Your review certainly says more about you, the person, then Peace on Terror, the work of art.

    We are not going to please everyone all the time, nor is everyone going to enjoy all artwork from all artists Thanks for your viewership, anyway, and we will do our best to do better in the future.

    Theatre of the People
  • Ms. Grove

    Thanks for your note.

    What I wrote was my honest reaction to your show. I will take you at your word that others who had a different reaction. I’m happy for them. Seriously.

    I have enormous respect for new plays and new playwrights. I respect them enough to be honest. Had I found something redeemable in this shrill exercise, I would have written a different piece.

    As to your suggestion that my negative reaction to “Peace on Terror” had anything to do with my appreciation of Eric Pfefinger’s play, well, that’s just silly. Yours was the second play I saw at this year’s Fringe and my reaction to it had nothing to do with any other show. And my reaction to his show had nothing to do with his authorship and everything to do with what I saw onstage. If the piece didn’t work, I would have said so.

    I welcome other opinions about both shows–and the rest of the Fringe–here. Just make sure to state your relationship to the production if you are somehow involved with it.

    Be well,
    Lou
  • Lou,

    Thanks for the reply, and thanks again for taking both the time to see our show and to comment on our work. We are very confused by your honesty, as it only concerns verbal jabs at the cast and crew and makes no mention of anything having to do with the show itself ... except that a woman pretends to urinate into the mouth of a political prisoner. Interesting interpretation, but the whole face was the target and not just the mouth. Hmmm.

    In your review there is no mention, for instance, about actual directing choices or actual character choices or actual design elements or anything having to do with the show's themes or intended message ... which amounted to nothing, according to you, that was somehow stated at length ... over and over again. Confusing, but okay.

    All we could have asked from you was a fair take on our efforts. Again, we appreciate your willingness to comment on the show but we have a feeling we lost you as an audience member before you even walked into the door. How else could you have seen nothing but scorn when most of the feedback we've heard about the show is very specific and quite detailed, whether boos or applause.

    We are human so we are therefore fallible, and critical feedback is often most useful to everyone involved if the substance of the review comments on the show and not the people nor their perceived talent … “Sub-amateur,” for example.

    If you review other Fringe shows, please, for the sake of god and everyone else who has put their heart and soul into entertaining you, focus on what did or didn’t work for you in a clear, coherent way.

    Imagine you are the playwright or artist and some blogger takes a swipe at you without taking the time to truly articulate what you’ve tried to do or done.

    Imagine you are the director, actor, or designer who’s made actual choices to help tell an actual story. What criticism would help you not make the same poor choices in the future? What feedback would help you better yourself as a professional artist competing against other great talent? What insight about your work would help you rise above your own inadequacies instead of perpetuating the distaste others have for your art?

    Theatre of the People is a brand new non-profit theatre company and from perspective we can’t do any worse than we’ve already done based on your insight. We could have truly benefited from your feedback, and we’re left laughing instead because we’re certainly not the worst show in four years of the Indy Fringe nor the worst show most everyone else has ever seen.

    Your feedback has inspired us, however, to work even harder to entertain audiences for the rest of our Fringe run this year and leading to next year. And for that, you will forever have our gratitude.

    Theatre of the People
  • Ms Grove,

    It may make it easier for you if you believe that you lost me before I walked in the door. Truth is, I walk into every theater, concert venue, club, gallery or other arts venue open to insight, education, engagement and/or entertainment. To do otherwise would be maschocistic. As you well know, there were many other choices I could have made in the same time slot as your show. I chose yours with the same hopes that I chose any unknown show.

    As to my method of commentary, for more detailed reviews of other shows, you can check out my A&E columns at www.ibj.com/arts. When it comes to Fringe blogging, my decision was to reveal as little of any show's content so as not to give away anything to future audiences. I'm not a fan of spoilers. As such, my responses to all of the shows over those first three days were more impressionistic than is my norm. I believe I was clear, though, in where I felt the show was wanting. I hope to offer more of a perspective in this week's print column.

    To be clear, I did not say you were the worst show in the history of IndyFringe, just the worst that I've seen. For the record, I have not seen every IndyFringe show. I apologize if that wasn't clear. (Also for the record, one of the most pathetic shows I've ever seen was an adaptation of Aesop's Fables that I directed in Philadelphia long, long ago.)

    You stated earlier that your writer never claimed to have anything to say. On that, we can agree. It's a start.

    Be well,
    Lou
  • My spouse and I caught Peace on Terror in Bloomington, expecing thoughtful and engaging agitprop. It turned out to be awful, Ed Wood directing Steven Segal in an Ayn Rand adaptation. Awful, certainly the worst play either of us had ever seen. I don't think that Mr. Harry is out of line or even hyperbolic in suggesting that the worst President ever inspired what might have been the worst theatrical production ever staged.
    However, I wouldn't blame the theatre company as much as the script, which makes a bumper sticker read like Chekhov.
  • Dear Lord, Theatre of the People has threatened to come back, along with even more magicians and improv groups. I realize this is Indiana, but why can't IndyFringe have more productions like 27 Wagons Full of Cotton?
  • Dear Whither... 27 Wagons by rights should not even be in the Fringe. It's a work by Tennessee Williams. What does, I realize this is Indiana have to do with it? Many acts are from out of state or even out of the country.

    If you want to see plays by well known writers then stick to regular community theater. If you want to see something orginal and different, then try the Fringe. That's why it's called the Fringe, by the way.

    Have you ever written, directed and or starred in a production entirely of your own creation? It takes alot of blood, sweat, tears, and time. People are really putting themselves on the line by staging completely original works for the public. There's a chance you won't like what you see, but if you want to play it safe, then by all means.
  • Firewoman,
    I haven't yet seen Cotton, but I do believe there should be room at our fringe fest for the occassional established one-act play. The truth is, we are very unlikely to see a production of this Tennessee Williams play (or very many others) in these parts, so what's wrong with having it in the mix?
    Other theater companies--including Merely Players with its Adventures in Mating and the folks behind the Shel Silverstein piece last year (or was it the year before?)--are doing or have done material that was developed by others. If it works, it works. I don't think it has to be a totally original creation to qualify as fringe material.
    Now, if it turned out a significant percentage of the Fringe productions were established one-acts--or if we had an Indianapolis Short Play Festival happening at another time (a boy can dream, can't he?)--then it would be time to rethink.
    More thoughts welcome and encouraged.
    Lou
  • Okay, “Peace on Terror” is the worst show ever. We get the message.

    To summarize:
    Lou: “Skip to the end if you want to read the rave and bypass the rest.”
    “… the play in question, ‘My Friend Hitler,’ isn’t much of a play.”
    “… actress Zehra Fazal doesn’t do anything particularly interesting or groundbreaking …”
    “I didn’t look at my watch during the next show, ‘Peace on Terror,’ but that’s only because I knew it featured nine sketches and so could count down to when the torture would be over.”
    “I’m talking about sitting through this ill-rehearsed example of a playwright with nothing to say who insists, at length, on saying it over and over again.”
    “… one of the most pathetic theater productions I’ve seen in all my life.”
    “Things improved (how could they not?) with ‘Stripped’ …”
    “I still don’t recommend it …”
    “There’s also an interesting physically transformative performance from Amy Pettinella as a troubled girl who turns to stripping but she’s in the wrong play.”
    “’Assholes and Aureoles’ was of another order altogether.”
    “… it’s outrageous in very smart ways and the capacity crowd I saw it with was rolling with laughter before a word was spoken.”
    If comedy shows had encores, I'd still be in the theater.

    Again, all we could ever ask if for critical feedback that is focuses on the artwork:
    Theatre of the People: “If you review other Fringe shows, please, for the sake of god and everyone else who has put their heart and soul into entertaining you, focus on what did or didn’t work for you in a clear, coherent way.
    Imagine you are the playwright or artist and some blogger takes a swipe at you without taking the time to truly articulate what you’ve tried to do or done. Imagine you are the director, actor, or designer who’s made actual choices to help tell an actual story.

    What criticism would help you not make the same poor choices in the future?
    “I did not say you were the worst show in the history of IndyFringe, just the worst that I’ve seen.” – Mr. Harry
    “It turned out to be awful, Ed Wood directing Steven Segal in an Ayn Rand adaptation.” - bemused

    What feedback would help you better yourself as a professional artist competing against other great talent?
    “Awful, certainly the worst play either of us had ever seen.” - bemused

    What insight about your work would help you rise above your own inadequacies instead of perpetuating the distaste others have for your art?
    “I wouldn’t blame the theatre company as much as the script, which makes a bumper sticker read like Chekhov.” – bemused

    To repeat: “Peace on Terror” is certainly not the “best” play ever written, whatever that means to whoever is passing judgment, nor is the show the “best” of the IndyFringe. We certainly never said otherwise, but thanks again for continuing the feedback that our show totally sucks.

    Just, please, please, please, with sugar on top … provide some actual criticism that can better our performance next time. Otherwise, join us in looking at ourselves in the mirror to ask: “What do my opinions say about me?”

    Theatre of the People
  • It's like throwing up and swallowing it, throwing up and swallowing it, throwing up and swallowing it. Do you know what that's like? --line from Peace on Terror

    FYI: Peace on Terror has three remaining performances. Wed. at 7:30, Sat. at 7:30 and Sunday at 6.
  • Peace on Terror is now showing at Theatre on the Square - Stage 2 at the ^above^ listed times
  • Whoo-whee! This is what I get for not checking back on posts that interest me. I had NO IDEA that all this was going on here!

    I'm sorry, but it all makes me laugh.

    And vow NOT to see or write about Peace on Terror. What if they come after me, too?

    Seriously, P.O.T. people..Lou's taking the time to see and write about your show when there are so many others he could have focused on is a GIFT, even if he didn't care for your show. Some people will go see your show now simply because Lou had such a strong reaction. They will want to see for themselves what all the fuss is about.

    Hang in there, Lou. I don't always agree with you either, but I always love to read what you write.

    Hope Baugh
    www.IndyTheatreHabit.com
  • Please don't hate me but I'm a cast member of Peace on Terror and I'd just like to apologize for the overly defensive comments you've been bombarded with. I myself didn't find anything hateful or blatantly hostile about your review. It was a basic, honest thumbs-down review. Nothing more, nothing less. Obviously, I'm not crazy about the sub amateurish acting line but I realize it's unrealistic to expect unanimous praise from the whole wide world when you do professional theatre. If you found our acting amateurish, I hope you'll at least appreciate that some of us are professional enough to take a negative review, roll with it and move on. All the best and don't forget to swallow.
    Derrick.
  • Derrick,
    Thanks for the note. Keep me posted on future projects at lharry@ibj.com.
    Lou
  • Hey Hope,

    This all makes us laugh too. To restate: we do not have a problem with Lou or bemused or you (after you see our show) or anyone else who might think our show sucks. Sucking is a part of life. Most of us, including TOP, seem to suck way more than we succeed.

    All we have asked for is critical feedback that involves some explanation of why someone thought our show was the worst ever. And all we could ever hope for is more feedback - with a strong focus on boos - so we can do better next time considering a first run of a new play by a new playwright from a new theatre company could truly benefit from solid critique.

    It's always nice when folks can also offer dramatic moments or artistic choices in a show that popped or worked for them, but we are always happy to hear any feedback and that includes what's awful or what just didn’t work at all.

    But who are we to judge? We're sorry you vow NOT to see or write about 'Peace on Terror', but we too were just offering our honest opinion of Lou's review and certainly our opinions say more about us than Mr. Harry.

    We do, however, agree that Lou’s taking the time to see and write about our show is a GIFT. We have learned a lot from this experience, and we can only do much better in the future in all ways. We respect all feedback, including that of our cast who clearly disagrees with our having said what we have in response (see theatre of the Walrus above).

    We believe dialogue is most always a good thing, especially about the critique of art in terms of what's good or bad or ugly. Everyone is free to disagree. Thank you Hope, Lou, Whither IndyFringe?, Firewoman, and Derrick for continuing a conversation between neighbors and fellow artists. As the playwright Albert Powell says in “Peace on Terror,” “Peace begins between people.”

    We will work harder to make sure our response to comments are as helpful as possible in the future, because it's no fun having to justify yourself to other folks including your own cast. We look forward to doing our best our last three shows to entertain whatever audience is willing to give Peace on Terror a chance.

    “Peace is possible in our dreams.”

    Theatre of the People
  • See ... even NUVO agrees! Peace on Terror sucks.

    NUVO REVIEW

    Peace on Terror
    One star
    Theater of the People, Bloomington
    Theatre on the Square Stage Two
    “I have no particular suggestions,” says Albert Powell in his playwright’s note to Peace on Terror. “I certainly have no answers.” At least he’s honest. He’s given the barely amateur Theater of the People an excruciating, pointless, juvenile, subliterate reflection on geopolitics in nine parts, something like Team America: World Police but without any of the humor or emotional range of the puppets. Whole sections are played in pidgin English for no apparent reason, and when characters find whole sentences, they only string together platitudes or self-centered observations: a soldier compares war to “throwing up in your mouth and swallowing it” before screaming, “Give peace a chance!” in the middle of a battlefield. Borderline heartless is the resetting of No Exit in a burning World Trade Center, a scene that depicts a paper-pushing secretary blithely stapling away while awaiting her death. —SS
    Aug. 27, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m.; Aug. 31, 6 p.m.


    I guess it's so terrible we shouldn't even worry about feedback. Sorry again, Lou. Peace on Terror should be banned from the stage and the playwright Albert Powell should think long and hard about finding a new line of work. What in hell were we thinking?

    Theatre of the People
  • Hey Ruth,

    It is not the responsibility of a reviewer or the audience to be the artist's mentor by offering them constructive criticism. Go to a conservatory or graduate school if that’s what you want. It is however the responsibility of the artist to have clear idea of the message he/she is trying to convey when they set out to create a work of art. I saw the production and honestly it was painful to observe for a variety of reasons. The most blatant being, there was no clear vision as to what the playwright was trying to say. By its very nature, Political theatre is often didactic but POT didn't even have that going for it, because the author and director seemed to have no point of view. And as Lou Harry points out, that lack of perspective is repeated over and over again.

    TOP, no one is saying you have to come out of the gates a perfect little theatre company. But what would be beneficial to you and your audiences would to have been better prepared. Your Company’s first production tells the world that you are ready as artists to share your fresh perspective and you have something important to say. Based on what I saw, that is not currently the case.

    Political Theatre is an admirable but difficult genre to tackle, but there are generations of artists who found imaginative and provocative ways to explore current political issues. If you are not familiar with the works of: Augusto Boal, Dario Fo, Luis Valdez, Judith Malina, Julian Beck and The San Francisco Mime Troupe, to name just a few, I suggest you become familiar with them. Not that you have to imitate what they have done, but it is our responsibility as theatre artists to know what has come before us. To be inspired and learn from them, or at the very least, know what we don’t want to become. You have to learn the rules in order to break them.

    You want specific feedback then here it is.

    You can blame the critics and audiences for not giving you the proper feedback but that’s not our job! Your job is to entertain us. Enlighten us. Provoke thought and to perhaps offer us perspective on a subject that we may not have had before. Nowhere in your company’s show, did that happen. Your message was general, unfocused, redundant and bombastic. As a result, your actors were left out there trying their hardest to make sense of text that would challenge the most seasoned of performers. They were forced to push for emotion that was not organic and they were poorly blocked with seemingly no attention paid to character motivation or moment-to-moment logic.

    You cast challenging material with many actors who have no business being on the stage. I blame you, not them. You do a disservice to the actors, the audience and certainly the material if you cast novices. Who knows, there may have been moments of inspiration in the play but we will never know because of poor acting and direction.

    I say all this not to be mean but to give you the specific feedback you say you so desire. I encourage you to continue to do what you love but do so more responsibly. Study your craft and take responsibility for your failures. If you really want to learn more, then listen to what people are saying instead of getting defensive. At one of your talkbacks, you got into an argument with a patron because he questioned your message. That behavior does not encourage a dialogue which is what you profess to want so badly.

    Follow your bliss my friend, but please, continue with responsibility, integrity and humility.
  • Theatrelover said everything I was going to, and better than I could have. Rep to you, my unknown compatriot.
    Ms. Grove, methinks the lady doth protest too much.
    A critic has a ticket and a byline. There is no other obligations, as far as I know. You're probably a very intelligent person. Quit the writhing
    and take the commentary - after Fringe is over - and sift it through
    neutrally and honestly, perhaps in the company of others you admire
    who have seen the piece and will tell you the truth (which is all a review is; one person's truth.)
    Personally, Lou's, NUVO's or any other reviews would not necessarily keep me from seeing a piece I wanted to see, but your confrontational and defensive attitude might influence me in the future.
  • Does anyone else find this sadly hilarious?

    except that “a woman” pretends “to urinate into the mouth of a political prisoner.” Interesting interpretation, but the whole face was the target and not just the mouth. Hmmm.

    As if we're supposed to read it and exclaim, OH. NOW
    I get it. She was peeing all OVER his face, not just in his mouth !

    (Think Emily Litella, Gilda Radner from the beginning days of Saturday Night LIve) Oh. That's very different.

    What the hell ? Ruth, get over yourself.
  • Though I am only a theatre patron and not a practioner, I would lay the blame for the Peace on Terror debacle solely on the ridiculous, cliche-ridden script. In all fairness, I fail to see how any actor or director could be successful with the material, which was a muddled agglomeration of cliches, and no more sophisticated a take on the subject matter than declaring babies are cute.
    Very rudimentary writing advice: Show, don't tell.
  • Thank you, theatrelover, for the feedback and for continuing the discussion. We certainly do not blame our audiences for not providing feedback and we apologize for not making that more clear; rather, we are trying to inspire those critical voices to offer more helpful reviews that are meaningful and not mean-spirited.

    You are right in most every count, and we're already choking on more humble pie than we can swallow for one week. Our casting choice was made in the hope of providing opportunity for many despite the challenging material. We were hoping to gain a perspective of audience feedback in regards to the artwork and not a critical review of the caliber of the artists, but we'll take what we can get.

    Considering our company is comprised of all volunteers that work full-time jobs for a living until they can gain the necessary experience to make a living doing art, we underestimated the seriousness of Indy reviewers in regards to what was expected of performances at a one-act play festival.

    Peace on Terror makes every attempt to encourage audiences to think for themselves, although the playwright is aware that some audience members have indicated a preference for a more directed message and he taking that into serious consideration. Most audiences have discovered varying moments of inspiration in the play dependent upon the person, but we also hear loud and clear the opinion that the show is poorly acted and directed.

    We also realize that we seem defensive, when all we have really asked for was more direct feedback regarding the actual material presented. We do take responsibility for our failures, and we realize that we have not entertained everyone in a method most neccessary to entertain some audience members.

    We continue to listen to voices like yours and everyone elses, however, and will do so with open arms. We are learning what audiences expect of us, and each of us is learning how to do our best according to the best of our abilities.

    The most challenging aspect of tackling humanitarian issues is receiving feedback that makes sweeping accusations about the playwright's intention or is aimed at the messenger and not the message. For example, no where in these more than 20 posts is there any comment about any of the subjects discussed in Peace on Terror nor any response from anyone about what those subjects mean to us as artists, citizens, or human beings.

    Instead, the entire discussion was started because of and continues to be about the lack in our show, what our show isn't, what are show could have been, and what we as artists should or shouldn't have done in a very general way. But we hear loud and clear and will act upon our need to make more responsible casting choices when applicable, we'll make every effort to be more open to thoughtful criticism, and we'll continue to smile despite the pain of knowing the loudest voices have been those of failure.

    All we ask as artists is that audiences make every attempt to see what is there and not focus on what isn't, because there is no way we or anyone can ever give everybody everything they want in every show. Certainly everything about this show isn't ill, for instance, yet notice there isn't one wave of positive mention among Peace on Terror's sea of critique.

    We will make every effort to do our best with our two remaining performances at the Indy Fringe, and every show thereafter as beauty is in the eye of beholder. We also appreciate the continuation of this dialogue so others may learn from our continued folly.

    Thank you all for taking the time to express your feelings in regards to our artwork.

    Theatre of the People
  • why can't we all just get along?
    I have to say that as a Fringe presenter, occasional reviewer myself and
    longtime friend of Lou's that there is not a thought in his head that is not
    his honest opinion is on a production when reviewing. He knows that I disagree
    with him on occasion. But, that is the joy of opinions they are like well... the
    part of the anatomy that is the title of the AUREOLE play... every body has one.
    He wrote what he thought... that is his job after all.
  • Just for the record:

    Albert Powell = Ruth Aaron Grove = David Nosko (Artistic Director of Theatre of the People)

    Let's stop playing little identity games and come clean now, shall we.
  • Is that actually the case, Ruth?
    If not, let me know.
    If so, isn't that a little sad?
    Lou

    P.S. While we're at it...Norman Bates = Norman's Mom.
  • Mr. Harry, I totally agree with your review of Peace on Terror. I saw it here in Bloomington, and I was rolling my eyes or grimmincing at almost every line of every scene. I do believe that scene 8, though, played well with the old vauldville skit Who's on First? as its inspiration (it had a different actor who didnt make it to Fringe ), but finding a flower in a bed of weeds still means you got a butt-load of weeds.

    In some adverse way, though, this play inspires me to write my own play that is less politcal, offensive, and is sit-through-able. Mabye you see it at Fringe someday...Terror on Peace perhaps?

    P.S. Bruce Wayne=Batman
  • So what is your response Mr./Ms. Powell/Grove/Nosko? If this is the last we have heard from you, then I guess you show your true colors! Despicable.
  • Is that why Norman is in the wig for the whole movie??
    I just got that.
  • Ruth Aaron Grove is the penname for a playwriting collaboration that includes David Nosko and Hannah Moss, who are the Co-Artistic Directors of Theatre of the People. Hence every tag line at the bottom of every Ruth Aaron Grove comment says, Theatre of the People.
    Ruth Aaron Grove has written several short plays, including Little Red Riding Hood for MCCT and other short works for MCCT and the BPP.

    As part of that writing process, both Hannah and David take turns writing and rewriting sections of a script and the end result is a very unique voice that is very different than anything each of them writes individually. Theatre of the People recommends that process to any one aspiring to write a play with others, and it seems to work best when one person focuses on structure and the other person focuses on dialogue in a rotating fashion.

    Because David has a background in journalism and has written more than 400 stories for Bloomington media outlets including the Indiana Daily Student, WFHB Community Radio, and CultureWeek, he chooses to use the penname Albert Powell for his playwriting. He does not mind discussing who he is or the differences between working in nonfiction and fiction, although Theatre 101 taught him the value of critiquing a play by focusing on the playwright’s script and not the playwright’s intentions.

    In addition, David is listed as the Co-Artistic Director/Technical Director/Playwright in the “Peace on Terror” program to further label who’s who. He also informed each media person who contacted Theatre of the People regarding a preview about his artistic wishes, and most of his peers know that David has used a variety of pennames for his playwriting from the very beginning because of his journalism work.

    Theatre of the People chose to stand up for the artists presenting our artwork and the artwork itself to promote a discussion about the actual themes and events that are depicted in “Peace on Terror,” and to beg for more concise feedback. Ever since, the only other comments we’ve received is more of the same and now we’ve all moved the conversation to who’s who.

    So, speaking of “it had to be done’s” wish to “come clean:” Shall we all?

    Will the Norman Bates = Norman’s Mom/Bruce Wayne=Batman: “bemused,” “theatrelover,” “one of the other people,” “it had to be done,” and “IU Cadet” identify themselves and join Lou, Theatre of the People, Hope, Derrick as “theatre of the walrus,” Adrienne, and Ty in a civilized discussion about ideas and not people?
    Or, is everyone willing to continue to forgo “Peace on Terror’s” many, many messages at the expense of the messengers involved?

    Theatre of the People
  • I refuse to identify myself because you scare me.
  • I second that! You come across as a self-centered, egotistical, deranged person who will use any excuse to not take responsibilty for anything in your life. why would any of us identify ourselves to someone who doesn't really want to engage in a dialogue but instead make excuses for his shortcomings. By the way, shouldn't Ms. Moss speak for herself or is she even given that option. Stop the madness sir! You made a mistake and now you have to accept the responsibility. It is the first step in becoming an adult. Grow up!
  • Thanks, we appreciate your opinion.

    Theatre of the People
  • One time, Lou Harry didn't like my show and said some stuff about it that made me sad. He maybe didn't criticize it as much as he did Peace on Terror, but it was still pretty bad. However, I sincerely doubt that he meant it in a hostile or personal way. I also doubt he meant his review to be a personal attack against your theatre because... he probably doesn't know any of you in real life. And it's no skin off his nose whether you are successful or not. Take it as a man doing his job.
    That said, congratulations on getting your work produced and on performing something that is meaningful to you. Take the criticism and try to improve it so you can get your message across in a more effective way next time. It sounds like there is an interesting statement at the heart of your piece. Good luck.
  • More thoughts on the Fringe in the September 1-7 IBJ.
    The issue also includes IBJ's Arts & Entertainment Season Preview.
    --Lou
  • I admit that I feel a bit out of place commenting in this thread when I didn't catch this show, but I do know this author/playwright/director/actor/whatever else by reputation and just wanted to add that this seems to be his normal course. This will not be the first bad review he has received, and probably not the last, and the way he handles it will be similar each time.

    Good luck to you Lou, it's extremely hard to find honest critics out there as most of the time they're being paid to bring in audiences with their reviews. I respect your work and hope you continue with your sincere critiques.
  • Hey jude,

    Dont make it bad.
    Take a sad song and make it better.
    Remember to let her into your heart,
    Then you can start to make it better.


    I’d say this exchange more reflects:


    All alone, or in twos,
    The ones who really know you,
    Walk up and down outside the wall.
    Some hand in hand,
    Some gather together in bands,
    The bleeding hearts and artists,
    Make their stand.
    And when theyve given you their all,
    Some stagger and fall.
    After all its not easy,
    Banging your heart against some mad buggers wall.

    Outside the Wall by Pink Floyd

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  1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

  2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

  3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

  4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

  5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....

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