A play where the critic dies. Are you trying to tell me something?

Posted on 04 Aug 2014 at 10:28am

Dancing with the stiff (i.e., dead) critic to throw others off the track. Photo by Chuck Marcelo

Jeff Swearingen has written a new play about famed New York Times theater critic Mickey Blake, and asked me — begged, really — to comment about his life and legacy. But when you watch this video (also embedded below), you’ll see clearly that I did not agree to it. And here’s why, from my official statement, released to the media last week:

Frankly, nobody knew Mickey better than I did: Altar boys together, boarding school roommates, we even started our reviewing at the same Communist rag in Red Hook the same week. But the falling out between us — all his doing, that unforgivable betrayal which I could never get past — means I simply couldn’t bury the hatchet, even after all these years. I’m still dealing with the blowback. Curse you, Mickey!

Of course, this is all a put-on, part of Swearingen’s inventive marketing campaign for his new play, Stiff, which both makes fun of critics and shows them some props. It’s an hilarious bit of silliness, than only runs one more week (this Wednesday through Saturday) at Fun House Theatre in Plano. Go see it if you can. It’s a hoot, with great physical comedy, smart jokes and an overall sense of wackiness.

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