Saturday, February 28, 2009

Choice Voice: Sing To Me Through Open Windows

According to renowned early 20th century Italian actor Tomasso Salvini, the three most potent elements of acting are: “Voice! Voice! Voice!” 

 You might expect that sentiment from an old-school actor like Salvini, or even actor and director John Gielgud, who suggested that while attention is often lavished on other aspects of performance, how the words are spoken “can have more effect than anything else.”

 But open almost any book on stage directing or acting, and they proclaim the importance of voice. The purported Stanislavski “Method” may have enshrined mumbling on American stages, but director Robert Lewis quotes Stanislavski writing at length about vocal acting: “Letters, syllables, words—these are the musical notes of speech, out of which to fashion measures, arias, whole symphonies.”

Harold Clurman (another Method-influenced director) writes about it—even Jerzy Grotowski devotes some 30 pages to vocal technique in Towards a Poor Theatre.

 A revelatory object lesson in vocal acting is available this weekend at the Arcata Playhouse, where Bob Wells performs in a short play by Arthur Kopit, directed by Dan Stone. First of all, every word Wells says can be heard, and every word can be understood. With these foundations in place, Wells goes on to act with his voice—his intonations, pronunciations, the words he stresses hard, the syllables he lets linger and float away.

 Beginning with his surprising “entrance,” Wells captivates, even when he does almost nothing except create this character with sound. He’s masterful: both poetic and clear. We know who this man is, and we attend to what he has to say.

 The play, called Sing to Me Through Open Windows, is more problematic. Arthur Kopit is a contemporary American playwright with a long career that began with revolutionary absurdist romps like Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad, but more recently has included musicals, including Nine, which reached the silver screen this year with Kopit as an executive producer.

 Whether Kopit has copped out or America has caught up to his absurdism is an open question, but this early play is at best an exercise in poetic symbolism that for me remained fairly elusive in this production. There’s the old magician (Wells), the boy who visits him (played by newcomer Zachery Davis with appropriate vulnerability) and a clown whose relationship to the others is difficult to assess (played with appropriate physicality by Craig Klapman.)

This is the kind of challenging work that Dan Stone often chooses. Figuring out what was happening was more difficult because Bob Wells was the only one who was clearly audible all the time. Even so, a kind of ambiguity is inherent in this play. The stage imagery, including the music (all created by Dan Stone), worked well. The lighting was especially clarifying, but other choices (like the puppets) less so.

 The themes of life’s transitions and mythic cycles are there when you think about it, but the impact of aging was absolutely clear as an experience. That’s the work of Wells, playing a magician who is in the process of himself vanishing.

 “Fear is like regret,” he concludes, “only with fear, there’s not much time left.” Remarkable words to come from a 22 year-old playwright (as Kopit was when he wrote this), but very powerful when spoken by a veteran actor in conscious control of a superior vocal instrument. I particularly urge young actors to experience—and listen to--this performance.

 This Sanctuary Stage production plays Thursday through Saturday at 8 at the Arcata Playhouse.

 Speaking of voices, the Arcata Playhouse recently hosted a live original radio comedy, broadcast on KHSU. Both Ferndale Rep and Redwood Curtain have done these, and the full house at the Playhouse also attests to their popularity. What’s weird about watching a radio show is that it isn’t weird at all. The talent—too numerous to name—was great, the script (a detective story parody involving KHSU) was mostly funny, pocked with puns and other psychic detritus (you know, crazy people from Detroit.)

 Afterwards some participants recalled the great audio artists called Firesign Theatre, of “Temporarily Humboldt County” and “Nick Danger, Third Eye” fame. Get their CDs—still funny, and not insane.

 Coming Up: Still speaking of voices, completing its run this weekend at the HSU Studio Theatre is The Homecoming by Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, known for his unique dialogue, and among the ensemble is another notable North Coast actor who excels at vocal acting, Jabari Morgan. Remaining performances are Thurs.-Sat. at 7:30 and Sunday at 2. Info at

 On Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8, the Dell’Arte Company Cabaret features your favorite Dell’Artesans plus special guests and a sneak preview of their epic work-in-progress: Blue Lake: The Opera. Then on Monday, Dell’Arte hosts visiting Le Cabaret Noir’s “Sin on Heels,” advertised as “a tawdry blend of burlesque and gender-bending performances.” For more on both cabarets, check

 On Saturday March 13, Ferndale Rep holds its annual fundraiser, “RepFest: Comedy Tonight” at the Ferndale Community Center. Auction items and other information posted on

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jagun Fly

Jagun Fly, a new play by HSU graduate John ADEkoje begins tonight in the Gist Hall Theatre at 7:30, and plays Friday and Saturday, and again next weekend. Because I do publicity for HSU, all I could say about it in my Journal column this week is this: [it is] the winner of the tri-annual New Plays Season national competition at HSU, Jagun Fly by John Oluwole ADEkoje, an HSU playwriting graduate who is establishing a promising career in Boston. It's that Humboldt rarity: A play about Africa and America written by an African American, with an African American cast. (Standard disclaimer: I have professional and personal relationships to HSU theatre, so I will not review it here.)

But this is my own damn blog unaffiliated with anybody, so I'll add this. I haven't seen the play yet (I will Friday) nor a complete rehearsal, and I do know the production is dealing with a last minute emergency that's taken a key effects person away. But I have read the play and ADEkoje has got serious music in his dialogue. He's doing very well in Boston, connected to young black playwrights up and down the East Coast, and it's entirely possible that he will turn out to be an important playwright. In fact I think it's likely. So anybody who cares about the theatre and wants to have future bragging rights about seeing this early work, ought to get to Gist.

I also must say I am very disappointed in how the local press has covered this play, or failed to, for--if nothing else-- the newsworthiness I outlined in my column mention: this is a new play--selected as the best submitted for the New Plays Season--by an African American playwright, with an African American cast. Given what month it is, and given the events of this year so far nationally, it strikes me as utterly tone deaf not to have given this event prominent coverage. And nobody did.

Don't make the same mistake of thinking this is just another opening of another show. There's more information and photos at HSU Stage, which is a site I created and maintain for HSU Theatre, Film & Dance.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Critical Mess

The Jan/Feb issue of The Dramatist magazine (Journal of the Dramatists Guild) focuses on critics, with an essay by Robert Brustein, an article sampling how playwrights cope with reviews, and featuring a roundtable discussion among New York critics (from the New York Times, Village Voice, Newsday) chaired by playwright Edward Albee.

So this discussion was New Yorkcentric, and also mostly about reviewing new plays (since playwrights form the Dramatist Guild membership.) But it's interesting anyway. The roundtable and other articles noted that theatre criticism is dying out, partly as a consequence of theatre continuing to drop back in the pack of entertainment media, and partly because newspapers and magazines are dying, or just getting crazy. They also noted that theatre reviews are often temporary jobs assigned willy nilly to up and coming journalists, who would actually rather be reviewing restaurants. Everyone--including these top critics--wish reviewers were better versed in theatre, and that there were more who were playwrights.

So how do I stack up, I wonder. My experience in theatre is not extensive, but I do have some, and I've seen a lot of plays in a lot of different places over the years. And I am enough of a playwright to actually qualify as a member of the Dramatist Guild (didn't keep up with the dues, though.) I do believe in theatre. And I have no interest in reviewing restaurants.

But though the panel provided a dour assessment of criticism, they were even more worried about playwriting. Michael Feingold of the Village Voice--who also was a dramaturg at the O'Neill Center in its glorious past--was particularly negative about the commercial and development pressures visited on playwrights, way before critics get involved, with compromised and homogenized results. "I have to say to my regret, that I think the playwrights who have learned how to tailor their sensibility to all the compromises are the ones that get produced," he said.

Well, the theatre can endure moronic critics, or just critics who get it wrong now and then. But it can't survive too many pre-ruined plays.

As for playwright Edward Albee, he is most vocal on the topic of critics who don't understand the theatre well enough. But he begins the discussion by quoting an editor of the New York Times in an exchange about reviewing with him and Arthur Miller. "He said the most extraordinary sentence to me. He said, 'We are much more interested in serving our readers than we are the theatre.'"

Edward Albee is a great playwright and a provocative gadfly. I met him once briefly and he was extraordinarily pleasant and generous. While the editor expressed himself a bit crassly (or Albee wrote the dialogue that way), what he says suggests a simple truth that shouldn't be surprising. Albee should no more be shocked that critics write primarily for readers than to hear that playwrights write primarily for audiences.

We all write for multiple audiences. One of my first newspaper editors (when I was a rock critic--but never a restaurant critic) told me that I should write for three audiences: my readers, my editor and myself. But he was being a little disingenuous: we are all aware of, and have some responsibility to, the people we are writing about, and the institution involved (broadly speaking; "the theatre" or "theatre community" for example.) That responsibility begins with accuracy, and includes fairness. In criticism, it also includes honesty.

A play review is taken by those who participate in the production as a critique. Their own critiques of their work--and each other's--is often far harsher than any review I've written, as I've noted. But this one is public. They also evaluate reviews for its effect on publicity and personal glory and career. There isn't a lot a reviewer can do about all of that except be honest in recording responses to the production on the date it was experienced, and to be as clear and fair as possible.

But I would be surprised to learn that most of the readers of theatre reviews have gone to see, or will go to see, the production reviewed. I'm pretty sure that a large part of the readership of a review or theatre column is comprised of readers who aren't going to see the show, no matter what the review says. For them, the review is a piece they read in the newspaper that they hope is informative and entertaining.

But even for those who will see the show--or who are deciding if they will--the review has its own integrity: it is a piece of writing in print in a newspaper, just like the other stories in that issue. The primary job of a writer for a newspaper is to try to provide the best reading experience for readers of that newspaper. Just as the playwright--or anyone involved in a show--is trying to put on the best play they can for the audience that shows up to see it.

There are ways to do that badly, of course--attempted pandering, gratuitous violence, etc. But that's beneath contempt for any kind of article or review. It's something of a balancing act, which I take seriously. But to some extent we're all in show business.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Puppets in Hell: Independent Eye's Rash Acts

The Independent Eye’s Mythic Kitchen troupe, based in Sebastopol, returned to the North Coast last weekend for two shows at the Arcata Playhouse. With this version of their Rash Acts, they were trying something new, more or less. They’ve used puppets before—co-founder Elizabeth Fuller, who brought her show Dream House to the Playhouse a couple of summers ago, said that people still remember their puppet version of Macbeth from 1979.

 But after 35 years of eclectic experimentation, Fuller and partner Conrad Bishop decided to focus on integrating puppets in their new work from now on. As a step in that direction, they combined actors and various kinds and sizes of puppets to revisit five stories they’ve done in the past as non-puppet theatre.

 Puppetry is an ancient and cross-cultural element in theatre, and was present at the creation of commedia dell’arte. The world-weary puppet introducing Rash Acts mentions the memory of familiar American puppets gone by, like Howdy Doody and Kermit the Frog. His bitter patter clues us in to the expectations we may be dealing with as the evening progresses. Because the un-cute and non-madcap message of the evening might be that it’s not easy being mortal. Hey, kids—what time is it? It’s Howdy Apocalypse time!

 The current economic tailspin plus the usual angst-producing suspects (war, Big Macs, strip malls, cancer) are front and center in the first piece, “Alice in Wonder.” It’s a riff on Lewis Carroll, with a sci-fi feel (Borg voices, Forbidden Planet sound effects)--- although the White Rabbit is an airport security scanner out of the Marx Brothers (or reality), the caterpillar has given up smoking, and the Queen is male (because being Queen is a man’s job.)

 Alice is a childhood doll rediscovered by her grown-up owner as she packs up to leave her foreclosed house, and is tossing out “crap I’ve had for years, like hope and expectations… This is not one of those mythic underworld journeys. This is just going to hell.”

 Alice is eventually consigned to the Goodwill. The woman’s one remaining hope is to plant some seeds (farming and growing stuff as the only good thing left seems common to several of the stories) but she can’t, she’s moving. Not a cheery story, but with a homemade feeling of a child playing dolls in her room.

 “Reach Out and Touch” concerns a recent widower bedeviled by telemarketers at mealtime, “Freeway” is a Firesign Theatre/Doctor Who fantasy of a couple that gets on the freeway and forty years later finally finds the Big Rest Stop. This one had some interesting, dance-like interactions between the two puppets and the human couple animating them.

 “Big Mama’s Baby” is an unsubtle but cleverly detailed allegory of white civilization as a spoiled child wrecking the planet, until the volcanic Big Mama Earth snuffs him. He wasn’t all bad, though—he left behind the Ode to Joy.

 “The Shadow Queen,” which features some very nice shadow theatre work, provided at least the choice of something hopeful: art as a kind of resurrection, offered as an alternative ending. But relentless mortality and screwed up people trashing the planet were common themes, as startling lines zinged by among those that sounded more conventionally cynical.

 The puppets and costumes are striking. Personally, I have trouble relating to puppets when the puppeteer is visible. I guess most people focus on the puppet anyway, but I keep looking at the person—I gravitate towards facial expression and where the voice is coming from. It’s like a movie with subtitles: I wind up reading more than watching.

 But when I could focus on the puppets, I still found that, except for a couple of moments, they tended to mute emotional connection rather than strengthen it. Maybe a certain alienation effect is intended, or inevitable. Even when they aren’t obviously grotesque, there’s always been a certain creepy quality about puppets. In any case, given the content, it was a disquieting evening. Ruefully funny, too, though not exactly Kermit and Howdy time.

 Coming Up: Next weekend is a busy one at the Arcata Playhouse, with physical comedy in The Cody Rivers Show on Thursday (Feb. 26), Cal Pritner from New York doing Mark Twain on Friday, and a cabaret fundraiser for Coastal Grove Charter School students on Saturday…Sanctuary Stage does The Vagina Monologues on Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm at Aunty Mo’s Lounge in Eureka, benefiting local organizations. It includes two monologues never performed in Humboldt before.

 Opening on Thursday and playing two weekends in the Gist Hall Theatre is the winner of the tri-annual New Plays Season national competition at HSU, Jagun Fly by John Oluwole ADEkoje, an HSU playwriting graduate who is establishing a promising career in Boston. It’s that Humboldt rarity: a play about Africa and America written by an African American, with an African American cast.

Friday, February 20, 2009

This North Coast Weekend

Rash Acts at the Arcata Playhouse: 6 actors, 42 puppets, five "live theatrical animations" (i.e. plays maybe)written and directed by Sebastopol theatre artists Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller, this Friday and Saturday (Feb. 20, 21) at 8 pm.

A limited run at North Coast Rep of Cubby's Dream, written by, directed by and starring: Dave Silverbrand! And his Not Bad Under the Circumstances Players! Sounds like fun and it's a benefit for Silverbrand's Cleats for Kids that sends baseball equipment to poor children in the Dominican Republic. It's on Friday and Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm.

As It Happened at Dell'Arte by its MFA students is three plays--loosely describable as adaptations of works in another medium-- by three groups, starting tonight (Feb. 19) and running through Sunday at 8pm.

Jeff DeMark and The UKEsperience Band are back at the Muddy Cup in Arcata on Saturday (Feb 21) beginning at 8:30 with a short Ukes set, then Jeff does some new material and reprises some stories, too. Then the Ukes are back for "their eclectic 'island boogie' songs in addition to sterling versions of Beatles tunes." There's really nobody like Jeff anywhere, every show is a new experience, even for his devoted fans who never miss him. This is the second collaboration with the Ukes; the first was a perfect blend. All this and music, too!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Meet the Meat

I'm a little behind in posting here, so here's an expanded version of my Journal review of two plays currently at North Coast Rep.

There’s a very funny, very short science fiction story by Terry Bisson that I first heard as a radio dialogue, in which two alien spacefarers are passing near Earth. One describes the intelligent species below while the other can’t believe what he’s hearing. “They’re meat?” he keeps repeating. “They have brains made out of meat? Thinking meat? You’re asking me to believe in thinking meat?” They decide for the good of the other beings in the universe they’ll just forget about Earth.

Being meat puppets complicates our lives with conflicts of intentions and conflicting desires. Carnality, in obvious and complex ways, unite the two plays currently on stage at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Eureka: Beware the Man Eating Chicken by Henry Meyerson and The Goat or Who is Sylvia? by Edward Albee. Both plays are funny, one is also very dramatic, and neither is for the squeamish. Fans of theatre, even vegetarians, should make a hearty meal of this superlative evening.

Beware the Man Eating Chicken (I should warn you and my editor that the title is a pun not requiring a hyphen: it’s about a man who eats a lot of chicken, and other meat) takes place in a chaotic low-rent living room, where the brassy Betty Smith (played by Kathleen Marshall) browbeats her sister Carole (Shelley Stewart) into assisting her get rich quick scheme of feeding her unseen son William (snarls and bellows by Sam Cord) to attain a weight sufficient to win the Las Vegas contest for fattest man on the planet.

Enter Captain Leonard (Anthony De Page) who tries to disrupt the process, and siblings Albert and Dorothy (Josh Kelly and Melanie A. Quillen) who own a chicken business and want to exploit a connection with William, currently devouring 20 chickens a day. Complications ensue: think The Honeymooners meets Little Shop of Horrors.

Michael Thomas directs the eventful proceedings at a breakneck pace, which overcomes such incongruities as why a chicken company would really want to make the fattest man alive their logo. Such chinks in verisimilitude are beside the point—the whole headlong romp is at best a thinly veiled allegory of predatory capitalism anyway. The characters are stereotypes but these actors play them with unflagging energy and conviction, and ring every ounce of legitimate theatricality out of them. The script is efficient yet quirky, as befits that almost lost form, the one act. The experience is satisfying, but the aftertaste of memory is apt to be about the comic performances.

This is the California premiere of Meyerson’s play, which which was first seen in 2000 and had its most prominent production at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival. It’s followed by a play that won the 2002 Tony Award on Broadway and had successful productions in San Francisco and Washington, by a playwright who has been internationally famous since the early 1960s, Edward Albee.

Yet the somewhat edgy absurdity and laugh out loud humor of "Beware" efficiently sets up Albee’s The Goat (which is a pun of another kind), since the release of laughter is important to its effect, and to Albee’s characteristic interplay of charm and provocation. (They are also linked by each featuring a son named William. They call him Billy in The Goat, which must be another joke.)

But this play is different in almost every other way, beginning with the setting: an upper middle class dining room. Martin is a highly successful architect who is forced by the betrayal of his best friend Ross, to tell his wife Stevie and their gay son Billy, that he is having a love affair with a goat.

The kind of absurd and perverse humor inspired by Gene Wilder falling for a sheep in Woody Allen’s movie, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex is an important element throughout this play, but it is hardly the only mood. There’s family and personal tragedy and revelation, touches of awe and horror, and a mix of levels from midlife crisis to ultimate human issues in the patented Albee banter. Such are the problems that meatheads are heir to.

That this production effectively expresses such rapidly shifting and sometimes simultaneously opposite moods is due to director Michael Thomas’ brilliant blocking and pacing, and to what he created with this exemplary cast that works so well together. James Read gives Martin both perplexity and clarity, helplessness and internal force.

Shelley Stewart discards the dowdy sister in “Beware” to become the attractive, intelligent and passionate Stevie necessary to be convincing. Lincoln Mitchell (after a semi-deus ex machina walk-on in “Beware”) plays the creepiness and the hard concern of the self-appointed friend. Sam Cord also excels as the gay teenage son who adds even more layers to the sexual tensions and carnal conundrums, and to the sense of loneliness for the transgressor, however (and whenever) defined.

This is vintage Albee, uncompromising, with wit and complexity of character, dramatic weight and fearlessness seldom seen these days, when how we’re supposed to feel about a character and think about a subject is typically prefabricated. This production serves and illuminates this play, which is the highest praise I can give it, other than to suggest that this is North Coast theatre at its best.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Whose Stereotyped Now? The Wild Guys

In The Wild Guys, currently at Ferndale Repertory Theatre, we’re asked to believe that: Andy (played by Mike Halton), an older executive and experienced men’s group leader, takes three men he barely knows on a retreat without telling them anything about what they’re doing.

 He invites Stewart (Joe Hiney), a produce manager in one of his grocery stores who he disdains, and entrusts him with guiding them through the woods to a cabin that only Stewart knows about, on what Stewart thinks is a fishing and drinking trip during which he can lobby for promotion.

 Then these grown men entrust all their food to Robin (Carl Hanson), who declaims, fantasizes and whines in incessant New Agelish, and has been to many men’s groups but somehow decides that this time he won’t bring the food so they can forage and hunt like wild men, even though if he’d ever tried this before, he would likely have starved already.

 Though we’ve seen these men talk on cell phones before they left, none of them brings one along into the woods, including Randall (Hal Bahr), an otherwise wired lawyer, who is only there because Andy is a client and it’s an excuse not to compete in a triathlon with his younger girlfriend.

 But for the fast-paced first act we go along for the ride, as they get lost in the woods. Though playwrights Andrew Wreggitt and Rebecca Shaw are Canadian, there are Humboldt references added, and some comic video that also provides character background. There’s funny dialogue and action, and director Marilyn Foote keeps things moving across Gary Franklin’s handsome set, comprised of platforms that stand in for landscape.

 The actors, while not entirely sure-footed on opening night, spoke clearly, interacted well, and performed their physical action with comic effect. They all bring something to their characters, especially Joe Hiney, who suggests the hayseed side of G.W. Bush. There’s a predicable sitcom feeling, but enough laughs to keep it lively.

 Then (after one of Ferndale’s long intermissions, nearly 25 minutes) it pretty much falls apart in the bloated and unconvincing second act. There are fewer laughs, and except for a few home truths (Robin complains that when he professes his feminist sympathies, women think he’s a wimp), the stabs at seriousness are half-hearted at best.

 When it was a staged cartoon, the lack of characterization beyond recognizable types and what the actors brought to them didn’t much matter. But the attempt to introduce meaningful interactions seemed tacked-on and artificial. Revelations were clumsy, unearned and largely unrelated to what came before. By then, that the premise never made much sense became clearer and more important.

 I think most of this play’s problems can be traced to its willful misunderstanding of what’s called the men’s movement, which the play identifies with workshops begun by the poet Robert Bly. The play parodies a cliché—the popular image of deluded men going into the woods to drum and act like children. By taking that easy course, the play has nowhere real to go.

 But it doesn’t stop there: in effect, it attacks not just the excesses of this men’s movement but its essence. So here’s a contrary pitch. There’s no one alive who has done more for American poetry than Robert Bly. Together with others, including James Hillman (the most important American psychological thinker since William James), his men’s workshops used myth and real poetry (collected in a great anthology titled Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart) to explore issues such as men’s relationships with their fathers, each other, women, family, the world, meaning, death and their own numbed and unarticulated feelings.

 In the face of lazy misunderstanding or worse, it took courage. For Bly, the “wild man” was about regaining spontaneity, partly through music and contact with nature. Rediscovering “the warrior” wasn’t about killing dinner, but focused perseverance. (It’s all there in Bill Moyer’s video, A Gathering of Men.)

 Excesses aside, demeaning the whole intent leaves us with little more than today’s standard image of masculinity defined by relentless commercials: slightly dim guys whose only real focus is lust for their favorite beer.

 To be fair, this play was a prize winner in some form (there’s apparently a one hour version). It’s a community theatre favorite and the basis for a Canadian feature film on the festival circuit, although the movie reportedly drops the men’s group theme and makes it a back-to-nature trip.

 The Wild Guys runs two more weekends.

 Coming Up: Improviso! is extreme Commedia, classic physical comedy with masks, performed by Dell’Arte School first year students at the Carlo February 5 through 7 at 8 p.m… Sanctuary Stage is producing the annual The Vagina Monologues, and is hosting a fundraiser to support the production on February 13 at Aunty Mo’s Lounge in Eureka from 6 to 9 p.m. Proceeds from the production will go to local organizations that work to stop violence against women and girls: North Coast Rape Crisis Center, the Emma Center, Women’s Shelter in Southern Humboldt and the Wiyot Tribe's "Vachurr Wimouthwilh." 786-9151.

Note originally posted 12/12/09:

Friday and Saturday are the final performances for The Wild Guys, a comedy at Ferndale Rep. I reviewed it last week, and in the current issue of the Journal are three letters with a contrary view--they all liked it a lot.

My response overall was mixed, though I took issue with the play and its point of view on "men's self-help encounters of the type made famous by drum-beating poet Robert Bly and the new-age, touchy-feely movement that supported it" (to quote the Ferndale Rep web page.) (There is just so much wrong with that sentence I don't know where to start.)

 People have asked me about these letters, and I'm completely comfortable with them. They express valid points of view (even if perhaps as part of an organized effort) and different experiences of the play. I am also completely comfortable with what I wrote, and the need to offer a contrary view on the attitudes represented in the play. But if you want to see for yourself what the fuss is about, you've got just two more chances. Pictured above are: Carl Hanson, Mike Halton, Joe Hiney and Hal Bahr.

One more interesting item about The Wild Guys: This production features actors from southern Humboldt, where the rehearsals were held. On opening night, Ferndale Rep exec director Ginger Gene asked the audience where they were from, and pretty much everybody was from southern Humboldt, supporting their actors on the night when proceeds go to those involved in the production. Ginger did ask if there was anyone there from another state. No one was. "I'm in an altered state," one voice added.