LTE: A Response To The Review Of Big Love

To the Editor:

While the cast and crew certainly appreciates your coming to see our production of Big Love and taking the time to evaluate the performance, we do not appreciate the review written by one Chandler Ford. The first flaw in said review is Ford’s insistence that he knows more about the stylings of Chuck Mee, the playwright, than our very own director, Scott Cummings. Professor Cummings is a dramaturg, whose research has centered largely around the works of Mee. In fact, after decades of research on said style, Professor Cummings has published a book titled Remaking American Theater: Charles Mee, Anne Bogart and the SITI Companystage. Ford maintains the direction of the play was off, BC Theatre did not successfully portray the intentions of Mee’s work; however, for one to make such a claim, he or she should have more knowledge of the playwright. Professor Cummings’ knowledge of Mee’s work is unrivaled.

The second egregious error lies in Ford’s assertion that “stage management simply never came together to make the show feel cohesive.” From here, he goes on to say that the props weren’t entirely believable. Perhaps Ford is unfamiliar with the role of a stage manager. If that is the case, he should educate himself prior to making such a fallacious claim. A stage manager is not responsible for prop design or prop creation. These are two completely unrelated fields. A stage manager’s duty is to record any and all staged blocking, decide in which wings set pieces should live when they are not onstage, and to call the show—this entails giving cues to light, sound, and spot operators. What an unnecessary attack such an assessment was on stage manager Grace Fucci.

Perhaps the greatest mistake is boldly claiming that the depiction of the LGBTQ community was “distasteful and offensive.” And where might this be seen? Might it be when the character of the homosexual Giuliano enters wearing a dress in the later half of the play? Why was this viewed as distasteful and offensive? Is it because it’s stereotypical? Stereotype or not, these people do exist. The actor who played Giuliano is in fact a drag queen and identifies as such. The actor essentially was just doing what he does daily. So in saying such a depiction was distasteful and offensive, Ford has offended not only this actor, but an entire community as well. He ought to apologize for this. Furthermore, for someone who claims to know so much about the work of Charles Mee, he should know the script calls for a “transvestite solo dance” from said character. Maybe Ford has an issue with this, but it is what the script calls for, so his critique of our production for this moment in the play is unfounded.

Lastly, Ford refers to many “soliloquies” throughout the show. A soliloquy is type of  monologue in which no characters but the speaker are present on stage. There is only one soliloquy in the entire show; the others are simply monologues. We ask that writers of The Heights have an understanding of the technical terms of theatre before pursuing reviews of our productions. It is apparent Ford lacks such understanding.

Sincerely,

Michael Mazzone

Featured Image by Sarah Hodgens / Heights Photo