It's time for me to answer the comments of Janet Waddell on my review in the North Coast Journal of the Ferndale Rep production of Amadeus. Those comments appeared first here at this site, then on the North Coast Journal site, and this week in the print edition. Apparently as a matter of Journal policy, I am not given an opportunity to respond along with the letter itself.
First I'll reproduce her comments in full, as they appear here and on the Journal site. The editors evidently cleaned up the misspellings for the print edition:
It makes me sad to see actors who go to work, school, and travel on a shoe- string budget trying hard to contribute to high quality productions only to be upstaged by a mediocre review. Mr. Kowinski's review of Ferndale Rep's "Amedeus" was mainly devoted to a detailed account of Kowinski's discomforture and annoyance at having to drive to Ferndale to review a show. It makes one wonder why others can drive to Ashland to review plays with out a feeling of martyerdom.
Then Mr Kowinski felt the need to tell us that he had seen the show years earlier in London and therefore there were no longer any surprises. The on-going ontological debate (Salieri vs Mozart) has ended by local proclamation. Has the rest of the world been informed? Should the MLA Abstracts be revised?
Kowinski should devote more time to writing plays. I've been in one of his and his his skill is in writing more than reviewing.
Janet R. Waddell
Janet Waddell does not disclose that she acted in this production. My review doesn't mention her. She had a leading role in Doubt at North Coast Rep last spring, a performance I complimented in my review.
I want to respond to the factual claims only. Here's the first one: "Mr. Kowinski's review of Ferndale Rep's "Amedeus" was mainly devoted to a detailed account of Kowinski's discomforture and annoyance at having to drive to Ferndale to review a show."
Here in total is the portion of my review, in which I name the day I saw the play: "(That was on Sunday — and with a 90-minute round trip and a nearly three-hour play, it pretty much was Sunday.)" This parenthetical expression in a review of some 490 words is what she refers to as a "detailed account" that the review was "mainly devoted" to. Her description is longer than this sentence.
She devotes a paragraph of comment on this assertion: "Then Mr Kowinski felt the need to tell us that he had seen the show years earlier in London and therefore there were no longer any surprises."
Here is the relevant part of my review: "I saw the play in 1982 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, with original cast members Simon Callow and Felicity Kendal joined by Frank Finlay as Salieri. Such early productions and certainly the movie were memorable for their spectacle. The Ferndale Repertory production, entering its final weekend, does not have that luxury — even with Daniel Nyiri’s handsome set and Lori Knowles’ sumptuous costumes. But guided by visiting director Karma Ibsen, it has the virtue of being clear."
My judgment on the production was this: "This production provides an enjoyable community theater experience, with impressive presentations by Craig Benson, Kyle Ryan and the entire cast." I suggested that the play itself is mediocre.
She ends her letter with this: "Kowinski should devote more time to writing plays." On this we totally agree. She finishes with the opinion that "his skill is in writing more than reviewing." I can only hope this is true.