October 17, 2006

Letter to the Editor

Pillowman accent

This brief note is in response to Ethan Stanislawski’s recent review of Steppenwolf’s The Pillowman. I would be very grateful to have it passed on to him.

Mr. Stanislawski criticized Yasen Peyankov’s choice to play “bad cop” Ariel with a Russian accent. I just wanted to make Mr. Stanislawski aware that Mr. Peyankov is, in fact, a Bulgarian immigrant, so the accent in question was not a theatrical choice, nor was it Russian. Furthermore, actors themselves do not have authority to choose whether or not to play their character with an accent. That’s the director’s job. I’m also puzzled by Mr. Sanislawski’s assertion that “McDonaugh’s plays are not meant for Stanislavskian techniques.” Unless the play you’re dealing with has absolutely no grounding in reality whatsoever, not even then in all cases, this argument is baseless and, actually, impossible to make. To claim that Jim True-Frost “shed all traces of Method and let his emotions fly” evidences a misunderstanding of what Method Acting is and what the results of which actually are. Of course, I truly appreciate any coverage of Chicago theatre, especially knowing first-hand that U of C students have little to no idea what is going on in that vast and spectacular community (although it would be a greater service to your public to cover any of the myriad wonderful storefront theatre companies around town: Mary-Arrchie, A Red Orchid, TUTA, LifeLine, The Side Project, and The Broken Compass, the last of which is my own theatre company founded by myself and four fellow U of C alums). It is also worth noting that the members of my company have acted in productions at all of the other companies I mentioned, although unfortunately none were attended by a Maroon reviewer. It simply might serve Mr. Stanislawski to be a bit more careful about the content of his reviews for the few people out there who know what they’re talking about.

Katlyn Carlson

The Broken Compass