Fringe review rebuttal 

I write in response to Chantal Incandela’s review of Almost Walking a Straight Line (Cover, “IndyFringe 2007,” Aug. 29-Sept. 5). I am aware that you need no formal license or training to become a journalist. I am unaware of what sort of skills, knowledge or ability Ms. Incandela possesses. More importantly, I am unaware of the life experiences Ms. Incandela possessed prior to her review. I concede that the Constitution allows NUVO to publish their writers’ opinions.

However, when I read Incandela’s review, I have never seen an arts and entertainment review in NUVO be so off-based since Ed Johnson-Ott trashed the movie Braveheart. (Note: Braveheart went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture despite Ott’s objections.)

Regardless of Incandela’s opinion of her play, I have life experiences that include: 1. I am gay; 2. I am Christian; 3. I lived four years with a straight Pentecostal man who did speak in tongues.

Rather than tell a summary of the play and the characters, Incandela chooses to criticize the actor for not being politically correct (at a Fringe Festival). I am not sure if Incandela understand the use of satire or exaggeration in humor. The Fringe play Pentecostal Wisconsin used almost the same techniques as Almost Walking a Straight Line. However, your reviewer did not make similar comments.

Incandela’s comments that the play is “a disservice to most of the people involved in the story” are grossly incorrect. As a gay Christian who spent years around Pentecostal people, I can say the play was correct. While the bit about hand gestures used by gay versus straight men was a bit of exaggeration, I found it humorous and funny. I did not walk out of the play with “stereotypes and prejudices” as Incandela suggests. I laughed and walked out with a smile.

Incandela’s assertion that the caricatures were “outlandish” is simply wrong. I could take several bits from the play and tell you how characters were almost exactly like the portrayals in real life (preachers ask if you tithe, people “helping” you to speak in tongues,” straight people who think you are not gay and say disgusting things about gay people, etc.).

I hope that before Incandela writes one more review that covers religion and gay people, please ask her to watch a couple hours of some Pentecostal religious TV shows. Please ask her to go to a Pentecostal church revival that lasts three hours.

Allen Branigan

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