It's hard to know where to begin with a “review” like the one that your Mr. Westlin wrote about the production of Bent at the Diversionary Theater [“Theater,” Nov. 4].
First, what he wrote isn't really a review of the play, but a complaint that the playwright didn't include everything else about the Holocaust, Nazi concentration camps and the entire panorama of the brutality of Hitler's regime. What a good reviewer knows, or should know, from the outset is that his job is to review the production he sees, only taking shots at a script if it has serious flaws. Just as Shakespeare did not see fit to inform us of the entire history of the Danish monarchy while writing Hamlet, neither did Martin Sherman think it necessary to review all of the atrocities that the Nazis perpetrated on their victims. Sherman gives us sufficient examples of Nazi brutality in Bent to set the stage for the central action between two gay men caught up in the horror of it all.
The title itself should have kept Mr. Westlin on target. Bent connotes that this play will be about gay men, their plight and circumstances inside a concentration camp, their love affair and their fates. Nothing more. Mr. Westlin also gets something else wrong; Max is not Jewish by birth, a fact that is pointed out more than once in the dialogue. He opts for the yellow star because he's told that he will be treated better than if he wore a pink triangle. All Mr. Westlin had to do here was listen to what was being said on stage, but he failed to do even that.
Mr. Westlin complains further that he was sent a study guide prior to the play's opening night and implies that he was insulted by receiving it. If he plans to review more plays in the future, such a guide might be a very good thing for him to have read. He might want to read the script through, as well, before writing more of the inane stuff that appeared in his article.
One good thing came out of Mr. Westlin's “review”; it provided a few of us with some things to laugh and point fun at over coffee one morning as we read over his attempts to talk about a production whose script he did not know well and one that he did not carefully watch on stage.
We hoped, after we got over giggling, that future reviews might do what we expect reviews to do—that is, to illuminate aspects of any given play for a reading public, give opinions based on plausible and observable facts from the production itself and forego ridiculous romps into territory that the playwright had no idea of visiting.
What about me?
About your story detailing sheriff candidate Jay LaSuer's embrace of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio [“The Front Lines,” Nov. 11]: If you are intent on being truly informative, I ask why it is you left out the fourth candidate completely?
It is me and I am continually amazed at the fact I am the only candidate in the sheriff's race with even one registered county voter vote for sheriff—and yet you completely leave out my name and the fact that I bring 30-plus percent of the countywide vote from 2006 into this sheriff's race.
If you did your homework, were fair and properly reported the truth, you would at least mention me. I do not seek political endorsements and I don't focus most of my efforts at raising money—but, I do build my vote numbers every year I have run for sheriff.
I told the voters, in 2006, they would be betrayed in 2009 and that Bill Gore would receive the appointment to be interim sheriff from the county Board of Supervisors, and this is exactly what happened.
I just wanted to weigh in and suggest that at some point you make a minimal effort at informing the voters—remember, 131,673 of the voters already know the truth, and your ignoring those facts will not change them.
I just wanted to let you know my supporters are paying attention—they are sending me your articles and wondering about your ineptness. We'll see if it's ineptness or bias.