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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

LETTER FROM TIM WELLS (article first published : 2002-03-28)

There is an expression I once heard Paul Slabolepszy use when referring to a technique in his writing - "...a laugh all the way to a punch in the guts".

How satisfying and encouraging to see that a few of the country's leading theatre personalities concur in their views of the sad predicament our little city finds itself in. It has also been encouraging to hear how fellow colleagues have shown support whilst following the recent exchange of letters to artSMart's editor!

I fully understand that whilst my opinions on the need for a new theatre critic team in Durban are well supported in the industry, there are many who rely on doing live theatre for a living and feel their businesses may be in danger if they voice these opinions openly - they could be met with a threat the likes of "...don't they want to work in this town anymore?"

I think your letters should be forwarded to the Editors of Independent Newspapers. An obvious threat such as that should not go unnoticed. It has had people reeling in disbelief that a member of the press can so blatantly and belligerently threaten an artist.

Anthony Akerman and Bill Flynn/Paul Slab's letters both offer cogent and powerful arguments for the careful assessment of our critics' positions and the power they wield. They are not outpourings from "sour grapes" but well-constructed reports on just how inaccurate these critics have shown themselves to be in reporting on what was well-crafted material in a particular genre that had wide audience appeal, but material which, because of their heavy-handed treatment, was not given the public support it might have enjoyed.

The need for CAREfully crafted, insightful writing that offers constructive critique from an INFORMED base is paramount.

Thank you for affording us the opportunity to air our views freely and fairly!

Kindest regards, Tim Wells




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