I realize NUVO should not simply be a cheerleader for all Indy cultural events, but why admit in a review of a play that the acting and directing were great but then spend the rest of the review slamming the script (Culture Vulture, “Ice-Breaker’ Cold,” July 19-26)? Actually, this review was the low point in a long slide toward poor and inaccurate reviewing in NUVO. Let me enumerate:
1. There is no mention of the set or lighting, crucial elements of any play. Plays are more than scripts. The lighting and scenery in this play were particularly good. The reviewer takes an abstract approach to the play, criticizing its narrative without treating the play as a holistic performance.
2. The plot summary (NUVO reviews always spend most of their time in plot summaries, rather than in reviewing the artistic decisions behind the play) is simply wrong. The reviewer's main complaint about the plot is that the two characters end up in bed with each other "within a few hours of meeting." Actually, they end up in bed several days after meeting.
3. The reviewer also criticizes the "heavy-handed enviro-babble" of the play. This babble is identical to the message that Al Gore is trotting around America in his movie and lectures. Hitherto, NUVO has supported environmental progressivism. Now we get a play in Indy supporting the environmental cause, and all of a sudden that becomes grounds for trashing the play?
4. The script nicely integrated romance and science in a distinctive fashion, with lots of humor and space for the characters to develop and change. It was one of the better written plays I've seen in some time. There were some problems with the script, which was probably overly ambitious, but the reviewer could have alerted us to them in a constructive fashion rather than simply trashing it.
Finally, when actors, directors and designers transform a less than ideal script into a successful piece of art, why not do more than mention that as an aside?
Stephen H. Webb