Wednesday, June 03, 2009

David Cote Versus Terry Teachout

David Cote of Time Out New York tries to work out his feelings about Wall Street Journal Critic Terry Teachout:

This is a complicated issue, to be sure. Terry loudly and repeatedly identifies himself as a lone voice in the American wilderness, reviewing regional shows coast to coast while his colleagues in New York sit on their bloated buttocks in Broadway and Off Broadway houses, ignorant of heartland dramatics. We are the true provincials, apparently. Let’s ignore the fact that most communities where you can find regional theaters already have media outlets, making Terry’s peregrinations somewhat superfluous and touristy. Let’s also ignore the fact that there are probably many Off-Off and experimental shows here in New York that are denied Terry’s critical acumen. Did Terry see Blasted at Soho Rep? The Shipment at the Kitchen? Will he make it out to Cynthia Hopkins’s The Success of Failure (or, the Failure of Success) at St. Ann’s Warehouse? Seriously, I want to know. I suspect that he would hate every one of them on ideological grounds, but more on that later.

Otherwise, it’s true: Terry is the only New York theater critic I know who will truck out to Texas for Awake and Sing or Virginia to catch Stoppard. I don’t envy him all that time stuck in planes, trains and automobiles, but I do admire the wide-angle experience he amasses from watching so much theater around the country. Terry styles himself a passionate advocate for regional theater, for supporting stages in your own backyard. Who can argue against that?

1 comment:

Thomas Garvey said...

Sigh. I've long felt that Teachout was politically creepy, but I also think Cote is kind of shooting himself in the foot. Teachout's clever enough to keep a civilized disguise on his soft-fascist sympathies, and at any rate, he's right that it would be nice if the Obamas visited more regional theatre in D.C. Of course any Bush supporter complaining about waste in the Obama White House is being absurdly hypocritical, but Teachout, like so many conservative hacks (with David Brooks of course the grandmaster of this particular game), has built into his strategy a number of ways to dodge such charges.