Unconstructive criticism

By Julie Orton

Editor, the Gauntlet,

Re: “Dastardly dreadful Dubnyk drags down drama,” Theater Review, December 1, 2005]

The most dangerous weapon to give a fool is a pen. Kyle Francis of the Gauntlet proved these words impeccably in his review of the Drama Department’s production of The Libertine. Not in recent years has the Gauntlet published a piece of journalism as disrespectful and insulting as Mr. Francis’ December 1 column.

When the drama department produces a play, it expects it to be reviewed by a well informed and relevant source. Mr. Francis falls under neither category. His scathing personal attack on a certain actor reveals his complete lack of knowledge in the theatre and his evident lack of class. To compare an actor’s presence onstage to that of a prostitute on a street corner is irresponsible and can hardly be referred to as constructive criticism. Perhaps if Mr. Francis were better informed when it came to theatre, he wouldn’t have to rely on such base analogies to prove his point.

Unfortunately, a crass personal attack wasn’t Mr. Francis’ only shortcoming. Very few aspects of the play as a whole were described, leaving room for a few extra juvenile jabs at an individual performance. Integral parts of the production such as set, costume, make up, and lighting were confined to brief, generic mentions in a passing paragraph.

Is it too much to ask that the drama department be shown the courtesy of having a qualified, mature reviewer sent to our productions? The Gauntlet is a University newspaper designed by students for students, not a vehicle for self-indulgent pontificators.


Leave a comment