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Editorial

LETTERS

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Closet Land "Premiere'

I need to address an error in the review of "Closet Land" (Back Stage, June 16) by Elias Stimac. The error was not of Mr. Stimac's making, nor that of the publicist. They were apparently under the assumption, via the producers (Kazbah Project, Naked Eye Theatre Co.) that this was the "New York premiere" of "Closet Land." In fact, the Equity New York premiere occurred September 1999, and was produced by my theatre company, Firedrake Inc.

In 1998, I signed a contract with author Radha Bharadwaj's agent, Mary Kimmel, Preferred Artist Agency, LA to stage the New York premiere in September 1999. Beginning mid-winter 1999, Rana Kazkaz of the Kazbah Project began calling with numerous questions about our show, its production details, and our intent to stage it. I responded, repeatedly, that we were definitely producing the show as contracted. Our production went up as planned and was favorably reviewed by both audiences and critics (OOBR, September 16, 1999).

When I saw this recent review calling itself the "New York premiere," I felt compelled to set the record straight out of respect for everyone who worked tirelessly with Firedrake Inc. to present an outstanding production.

This other company definitely knew we had previously produced "Closet Land." However, because I believe strongly in Bharadwaj's script, and wish for its success, I hope this company had a successful run.

Nonetheless, I would be remiss if I didn't set the record straight regarding which company produced the Equity New York premiere of "Closet Land"... Firedrake Inc.

Joe Rinaldi

President, Firedrake Inc.

New York City

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Cheers for SAG-AFTRA

Bravo to my fellow actors of SAG and AFTRA, striking against the advertising industry, demanding fair compensation for their work! Shame on the production companies who (The New York Times reports) are trying to rob from them what is rightfully theirs, using such unethical, un-American tactics as hiring nonunion workers and "making their commercials overseas," where labor is much cheaper. These executives want to keep for themselves and shareholders money earned by actors whose work sells their clients' products.

Let's be clear: Every person deserves the wealth his or her labor produces. Eli Siegel, historian and founder of Aesthetic Realism, explained: "The most important thing in industry is the person who does the industry, which is the worker. Labor is the only source of wealth." (Goodbye Profit System: Update, New York: Definition Press)

When David Perry, of Saatchi & Saatchi, says snidely: "A lot of what we call acting is not terribly difficult. You don't go to the Old Vic to learn how to hold a can of Spray 'n' Wash," my reply is: You might try this job yourself, Mr. Perry, and see how the public responds; you would get a lesson in how much real ability that work takes!

Anne Fielding

New York City

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