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  •  READER COMMENTS

    Reader comments on

    Subject: Pay no attention to that man behind the by-line
    Date: Sep 9, 2001
    Sender: Lisa GardnerPrevious | Next

    To Mr. Tanzer:

    "Fuck You" never presented itself as, or claimed to be, slice-of-life realism. You complain that the script is "only one layer deep. Why are the gunmen killing everybody? We don't know."

    Who cares about motivation? Does anyone still, to this day, know why those responsible for the Oklahoma City bombings did what they did, or the shootings at Columbine or any of the other suburban schools, or just about any murder or serial killer?

    And we know even less about those killers' victims. It didn't bother me at all that we saw only glimpses of who the students are. "Fuck You" doesn't present 2-dimensional characters. It presents a 20-second look at all-too-real (albeit fictional) 3-dimensional high school students.

    The non-formulaic structure and surrealistic pastiche of "Fuck You" was meant to be taken as a whole. And overall, it seemed to me to be a commentary on exactly how one feels in high school -- disjointed yet familiar, chaotic yet structured, insecurities masked behind bravura, rebelliousness, drug use, or in some instances, not masked at all.

    It also makes for a damn fine piece of theater. Without giving anything away, the ending of the show and the audience's exit from the theater justifies the entire production. We know the people on stage were just actors covered in fake blood who would be standing up and walking out of that room when the play was over. There are too many students who never got up, who never walked out of the classroom, who were not covered in anything nearly so innocuous as food coloring and corn syrup.

    That resonance is the reason why "Fuck You" is great theater and works on many levels. It forces you to face what's happening on stage. Audiences aren't supposed to look for a narrative or character development.

    You "felt dirty just for having participated in the humiliation of the actors"? The CHARACTERS were being humiliated, not the ACTORS. The ACTORS and DIRECTORS should be applauded for their courage, for not backing away from dramatizations of uncomfortable situations which -- let's face it -- occur all the time in one form or another.

    "Fuck You" is most assuredly NOT "an unfunny play about caricatures of high-school students killing other caricatures, and it doesn't have anything in particular to tell us about this phenomenon." It's anything BUT "an empty exercise in mayhem."

    Your mistake is your expectation that the show (and theater in general??) must TELL you anything about its subject matter. This play aims to make the audience FEEL.

    This play sticks with you, and having talked with one of the writer/producers, I know that was his main goal -- to evoke a strong visceral response in their audience. Love it or hate it, you can't ignore it. You cannot be passive.

    ...and that's what theater is all about. Therefore, by that definition, "Fuck You" is great theater.

    Lisa Gardner

    P.S. By the way, the word is "outrageousness." I wonder what you (or your editor) were doing the day your high school English class covered the grammar lesson that adjectives are made nouns by the addition of the suffix "-ness."

    Editor's note: Embarrassing typo corrected. Thanks!

    Previous: Oh Joshua, Sweet Joshua | Next: Gentle Suggestion for Lisa and Christina.

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    Comment index:

  • fuck you   from john bowman, Sep 6, 2001
  • Oh Joshua, Sweet Joshua   from Christina Howard, Sep 8, 2001
  • » Pay no attention to that man behind the by-line «   from Lisa Gardner, Sep 9, 2001
  • Gentle Suggestion for Lisa and Christina.   from Frank L. Gehry, Sep 14, 2001
  • Oh sit down   from Louis Friend, Oct 9, 2001
  • responding to critics   from tony buccola, Jan 7, 2003
  • Re: responding to critics   from Johanna Buccola, Mar 20, 2003
  • WHAT?   from Kellie, Nov 25, 2004
  • [no subject]   from Theater Buff, Mar 27, 2005
  • Re: [no subject]   from Buff Buff, Jul 5, 2005
  • Great Job Guys!   from Andy Orwig, May 16, 2005
  • Re: Great Job Guys!   from Tanya Ritchie, Jan 24, 2006
  • Re: Great Job Guys!   from Johanna, Dec 24, 2009
  • My New Play   from Tanya Ritchie, Jan 25, 2006
  • [no subject]   from Dalton Senior, Mar 3, 2006
  • Pee hole?   from Atticus, Jul 27, 2006
  • fuck you   from john bowman, Sep 6, 2001
  • Oh Joshua, Sweet Joshua   from Christina Howard, Sep 8, 2001
  • » Pay no attention to that man behind the by-line «   from Lisa Gardner, Sep 9, 2001
  • Gentle Suggestion for Lisa and Christina.   from Frank L. Gehry, Sep 14, 2001
  • Oh sit down   from Louis Friend, Oct 9, 2001
  • responding to critics   from tony buccola, Jan 7, 2003
  • Re: responding to critics   from Johanna Buccola, Mar 20, 2003
  • WHAT?   from Kellie, Nov 25, 2004
  • [no subject]   from Theater Buff, Mar 27, 2005
  • Re: [no subject]   from Buff Buff, Jul 5, 2005
  • Great Job Guys!   from Andy Orwig, May 16, 2005
  • Re: Great Job Guys!   from Tanya Ritchie, Jan 24, 2006
  • Re: Great Job Guys!   from Johanna, Dec 24, 2009
  • My New Play   from Tanya Ritchie, Jan 25, 2006
  • [no subject]   from Dalton Senior, Mar 3, 2006
  • Pee hole?   from Atticus, Jul 27, 2006