My wife and I have recently moved to Savannah from Boston where we both spent many years teaching and directing. I am the former chair of Boston College’s Theatre Department and my wife is a choreographer and playwright.
We were so impressed with Savannah’s cultural climate that we were both ready to relocate here and become part of the scene. Unfortunately, we have uncovered a different picture.
There are no adequate theatre spaces for developing theatre companies. Now the city is further reducing grant dollars.
The city fathers (and mothers) apparently believe that driving a few more theatres into the ground and depriving local artists of gallery and performance space will set the city’s financial house in order. We have both lived and worked in many cities and have never seen such unsupportive local conditions.
With all of this in mind, were both profoundly disturbed by Bill DeYoung’s review of City Lights’ production of Open House. We found the tone condescending, pretentious and thoroughly unprofessional. More importantly, such churlish attacks on an honest, albeit uneven effort, is just the kind of posturing that deprives an already anemic theatre scene of oxygen that it needs to survive.
You seem to believe that unfavorable theatre reviews have to be arch and destructive in order to communicate disapproval. Competent arts journalism avoids mugging its artists while still informing audiences of writing and acting deficiencies. It seeks to strengthen the community of artists realizing that it itself is a pillar of that community.
I hope you realize that vital arts reporting seeks to develop the knowledge of the public while strengthening the will of local artists to continue to write, direct, design and act, often thankless jobs. Without these artists Savannah will have to depend on non–Equity touring companies performing decrepit shows that lost relevance during the first Clinton administration.
Your role in this growth process is critical. Please don’t abandon this responsibility for the sake of a few “gotcha” lines.
You have the writing skills, background information and theatre knowledge that are required create historical contexts as well as aesthetic criteria for Savannah audiences. Consider the influence of John Martin, Ben Brantley and Hilton Als.
These critics are witty, honest and informative without misleading their audiences or insulting the artists of their communities. Theatre in Savannah needs the same from you.
John H. Houchin
America’s debt abyss
Our government will provide us with a golden opportunity to pay off our credit card debt with pennies on the dollar. With the federal budget deficit now running in excess of $1.5 trillion this year and increasing, the Obama administration’s own 10–year budget plan predicts the national debt will exceed $25 trillion in 2019.
This year the interest on our national debt will be about $400 billion. By using simple math, the interest expense in 2019 on our national debt of $25 trillion at an interest rate of 12 percent will grow to $3 trillion. Interest rates will dramatically increase following rating agencies’ downgrade of our sovereign debt to a junk rating.
At some total debt level a tipping point will occur when our government can no longer pay the interest, which will cause the debt bomb to explode. You will not have to wait until 2019 for our sovereign debt default.
The Federal Reserve is now being forced to partially fund our budget deficit using a scheme called quantitative easing (QE), a politically correct way to describe “creating money out of thin air.” QE was recently used to create $1.3 trillion to buy mortgage–backed securities from banks.
With QE, inflation will build to a crescendo. The result is a crack–up boom when people realize the dollar is crashing and will frantically spend all their paper money in an attempt to exchange it for something of value.
When that happens, credit cards can be paid off with 154 pre–1982 pennies per pound of copper that were accumulated long before the dollar collapse.
Robert A. Dahlquist
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