Anonymous letters detrimental
I have noticed recently that the City Pulse has been publishing letters in its print edition that are signed with aliases rather than with real names. I am hoping you will reconsider this practice. Unsigned comments require no accountability by the author.
Thoughts on Kluge
When I worked closely with Len Kluge, he encouraged me to ignore reviews during the run of a show. They were the opinion of one individual and there was simply nothing that could be done quickly to change a well-rehearsed performance that was cited as lacking. He insisted that an actor considering reviews must treat the positive and negative feedback with equal weight.
Len chose to conclude his life in theater by writing reviews in the pages of this periodical. As I have spoken to friends in the past few years, they expressed concern that Len was too harsh or pointed in his reviews. Some believed that he had an axe to grind.
Len stated to me that he felt a sense of responsibility to theater and the audience. He believed that local critics had developed a softball approach to theater reviews. There was critical praise for the exemplary accomplishment and silence about the artless. When a production was substandard, a critic might focus blame on the absent play wright or some other obscure component.
“This is about maintaining the integrity of the theater and of all art. If we fail to do that, we have no one to blame but ourselves for declining attendance. Any philosophy that advocates bad theatre as being better than no theater will result in just that — bad theater.
It is my hope that theatre craftspeople, critics and audiences in this community expect and reward excellence, tell the truth when we think something stinks and continually work to better our knowledge and skills.
— Jeff Magnuson, Lansing
Thank you for printing Len Kluge’s story (July 8). It was a great article full of truth about him. I was one of his students for about a year before I moved to California. His lessons gave me a strong foundation on which I was able to build a wonderful body of work in the theater and television. He was a fabulous actor, artist and teacher. Truth is what he sought, and how to find it and express it is what he was able to teach and demand of his students. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family and the art community of which he was such an important part.
—Linda Castro From www.LansingCityPulse.com