I seem to be mistaken about the theatre editors having any regrets over what they have made public. Neither appears particularly flustered by the attention to their private beliefs and lives. In fact both seem to have flourished somewhat under the scrutiny. And the private/public rift that has developed between them has all the drama and scandal potential of a Rosie/Donald episode. For theatre’s sake, let’s hope they exploit the opportunity. I kid the critics.
David wants his pathology to be read like a book. The masthead emblem of his blog is the lone player standing on stage with a defiant fuck-you gesture thrust at the hostiles in the audience. That actor would be David. In recent days he has constructed his makeshift platform and has gathered the hostiles for his performance. Catechism on a hot tin roof His latest post begins with an address to the offended public.
The title of David’s blog, Histriomastix, has a wikipedia link to explain it:
Histriomastix represents the culmination of the Puritan attack on the English Renaissance theatre.
David obviously imagines that this 400-year-old antagonistic Puritanical audience is alive and well, and still in onslaught against his beloved theatre. Going a considerable step further, he has conflated the Puritans with all “people of faith,” suggesting that the Us v. Them divide is much larger than most of us working in theatre ever imagined. So the Chosen Ones of theatre in David’s eyes are those who have sworn off all religion.
Statements such as “Religion is bad theatre for stupid people,” inappropriately placed in a theatre review, are sure to draw a crowd of hostiles. But the critic/actor maintains his haughty position on stage, daring the public to drag him to the pillory.
I admire David’s honesty and refusal to stand down from his beliefs. This stance is not likely to further his career as a mainstream theatre editor and reviewer. As reader, I never would have caught the offending line in his review if it weren’t for the brouhaha that developed around his diatribe against THEM in the Mike Daisey incident. Having seen Young Jean Lee’s Church, I was waiting anticipatively for his review on that particular piece in light of his exposed prejudices. I’m sure other bloggers were doing the same.
I find both David and Leonard’s personal blogs refreshing, especially when contrasting them with their “official” blogs at TimeOut and BackStage. Leonard is genuinely endearing with his backstage gossip and rants. But again, one wonders how well all this honesty and transparency will serve a mainstream career. We should wish them both the best of luck. We will all be better off if it does.