Harv of Darkness

For those of you who know I'm a critic or guess easily, due to my pad and pencil, please stop emphasizing compliments about the actors while the show is ongoing. No matter how brilliant you say your boyfriend is (and I happen to overhear your shouting voice), I'll still say he sucks if he does. Your "offhand" comments to your friends simply prevent me from hearing what he says.

When a show starts at 8:00 p.m, that doesn't mean you should first leave your home at 8:00 p.m. While the company may hold the curtain for a few minutes, they don't wait for an hour. People have this incredibly stupid habit of arriving 45 minutes late and then bustling through the rows to an empty front seat. Sometimes I wonder why the actors don't just reach over and punch them out.

Finally, two personal notes which I hope will make the proper point both to the specific and the universal. If you're an actor, and I give you a bad review, write to New Times. Do not -- as Fermin Rojas of the ill-fated Ms. Smith Goes to Washington -- did, call me at home, and demand I print a retraction. "I'm not an over-actor," he yelled. When I asked why he called me at my private number rather than my work number (being that I did not call him at home after the show and describe how horrific I thought he was) he said he preferred the "Bette Davis" approach. Fermin, Bette's dead.

The last reproach belongs to Jeanine Goodstein of the Minorca Playhouse, who earlier in the year, talked up as loud storm through her own theater's presentation of Dangerous Liaisons. And she was sitting behind me. When I asked her to pay some greater respect to the actors, she turned ugly. Please learn about theater etiquette before you run one.

For those who believe I'll praise anything avant-garde, guess again. I like the original and excellent. Therefore, although Brazilian monologuist Denise Stoklos impressed me greatly with her odd, comic, and symbolic body/voice contortion in her performance piece Casa -- presented last week at the Colony Theater and sponsored by the Miami Light Project -- I missed the point. Perhaps part of the problem lies in one of Stoklos' "credits" -- that she writes and performs her plays in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German. In English (quite starkly not her first language), her diction becomes impenetrable and many of her points pedestrian. Maybe it worked better in German or Portuguese.

Safe Sex and On Tidy Endings by Harvey Fierstein, directed by Richard Marlow; with Mikal Nilsen, David Bugher, Corrina Lee, and Nikolaus Ippolito. At The Public Theatre Studio, Fort Lauderdale Branch Library, NE 14th Avenue and Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, through February 14. Performances Thursday - Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets cost $8-$10. Call 568-2243.

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