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Speaking of Bullying...
Last Edit: FreddyF 06:58 am EDT 05/19/21
Posted by: FreddyF 06:56 am EDT 05/19/21

For years, almost since the beginning, I’ve had another name here, and some of you I have met and we’ve enjoyed company. For this post, I thought it best to refresh my handle with a new one.

While there are so many fine, generous, giving, remarkable theatremakers in the United States and throughout the world, there is no doubt that on the dark side there has been much bullying in all aspects of this world - from the Rudins to the impossible directors, Napoleonic stage managers, vicious actors and designers, to say nothing of producers, house managers, conductors and so on and so forth. Like the rest of the world these pockets of ‘terrible' exist in spite of the largely generous spirit extant among many theatremakers. One hopes that there is going to be less tolerance for this kind of behavior as theatres begin to sell tickets and light their lights once again. Shall it continue to be “a tough business” for which one must sell one’s soul in order to advance, or will it be one, as it should be, of hard work, luck, and earned respect, diverse, equitable...?

In which case I ask a question regarding criticism. There are many fine critics, but there are a whole ton of bullies in positions of power. What was the Jesse Green story - something to do with the sadness and joy of writing a zinger, a vicious epithet for an artist or a production, and some of the other privileged few who are click-hungry and click-needy looking for the most viciously clever turn of phrase? There is much evidence of such behavior in newspapers of record, that oddly unlike what might go on in a Rudin office (the berating, not the physical abuse) is there for everyone to see. The schadenfreude that goes along with it and destructiveness with no accountability is heart-rending.

This is not to say that works and artists that aren’t deserving of praise should be treated lightly or easily dismissed. It is not the “what,” it is the “how.”

Is the kind of behavior that nowadays would be called to task anywhere, allowable in critical forums because it’s “a tough business,” that’s the reality? That’s the way it is? Well hasn’t that been Rudin’s and other’s excuses for years and years?

How is it ok for a journalist at any level, or any sort to behave in public, in words, berating, as are many who have been called out on these behaviors? Is this simply something that has to be accepted as the way things are?
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