Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bad Medicine and the RTCC

I attended the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle award program on Sunday evening and submitted my article on time the next day. But for various newspaper-y reasons, it didn't run until Friday and was cut slightly.

Here's the published version. The online version doesn't include the full list of winners, which did run in print. Here are a few additional remarks:

*Aaron Gilchrist captured the spirit of the evening [or maybe he set its tone] with his unaffected charm.

*Tuxes, yes—which is not to say the jacket-over-jeans or the man-in-a-dress looks were absent.

*Shawls and scarves, yes-- with a few evening gowns and a knock-out Rita McClenny of the Virginia Film Office in thigh-high boots and a teeny blue dress.
[Sure, these last two bits are throw-away lines, but isn't the clothing part of the fun? Plus, I'm so fashion unconsicous, I had to work really hard on those lines!]

*For some reason, I thought Ms. Squire's line was the funniest of the night, so I had to end the article with "And who doesn't need an escape from that?" But it's true, if I were the editor trying to make the article fit, I would have cut that line too.

Also, I had written a whole part about Tom Width's speech when he accepted the lighting design award on behalf of Joe Doran. (Mr. Width is now on my list of People I'd Like to Meet.)

Tom Width, artistic director of Swift Creek Mill Theatre, accepted the Artsy for lighting design on behalf of Joe Doran, who was in New York. Doran did the lights for the Mill’s production of “Altar Boyz.”
“Joe told me, ‘I need $60,000 for lights.’ I said, ‘Go buy a Mega Millons ticket,’” Width told the audience. He gave Doran a budget, and Doran borrowed and rented equipment, bought things off eBay and created a design for the Mill’s “Altar Boyz” production that “put $60,000 of lighting design on stage for $5,000.”

I thought the story was both charming and indicative of the resourcefulness, creativity, and energy of Richmond theater that was so evident throughout the evening. But I realized I couldn't send those paragraphs in for publication and risk readers interpreting it to mean the Mill is somehow unprofessional. (I know, nonsense!--but my eyes were opened last year when I read an online comment elsewhere. Someone wrote that a Richmond Shakespeare production was "shoddy"--it was clear that person thought the absence of thousands of dollars worth of costumes and set means a production is automatically not good.)

So what's with the title of this post? Well, isn't that what critics are? I opened the paper on Thursday, sure that my RTCC article would finally appear in the Weekend section. Alas, no. But there was a nearly half-page article about the Bon Jovi TV special! 
Don't get me wrong: I think Melissa Ruggieri is a good writer, and statistics do support the notion that Bon Jovi is of more interest to a greater number of people than Richmond theater. But I consider it part of my job to grouse about such freakish injustice!

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