Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Official Notice

Commenting on my recent "failure to communicate" post, Anonymous complains that nominees for the RTCC awards have not received "any official sort of notice." S/he goes on to say: "Talk about a failure to communicate - don't assume everyone reads your blog. Take the time to at least contact the producers and ask them to send the messages...they have these odd pieces of paper handed out to every company member of a production...called a "Contact Sheet." I'm sure you've seen one before.

Wouldn't it be embarrassing to have someone win who wasn't there because they didn't know they had been nominated???"

Embarrassing? Hmmm. Maybe. Mostly, it would be unfortunate and I would be disappointed. But to me it would be more unfortunate if some individual who DOES read this blog didn't point out to a nominee that they were nominated if they happen to be in touch with them, perhaps by saying "hey congrats on your nomination!"

Anyway, more to the point and just so you know: members of RTCC were in contact with producers and artistic directors from each theater company months before the nominees were announced. An email with the nominee press release went to representatives of each theater company. And just for good measure, last night I sent out messages via Facebook to everyone I could think of asking them to contact those who I don't have direct contact with.

Last year, with the help of people at many different theater companies, I tracked down emails, phone numbers and sometimes home addresses for every single nominee. I sent messages, called and sent invitations. And even then, there were people who I never heard from. There are nearly 100 nominees for this event -- I will not be spending the hours it takes to make sure that every single person who is nominated has been personally contacted.

I am hopeful that the theater companies the RTCC has been in contact with care about the awards at least enough to contact nominees who were working on their productions to let them know they've been nominated. If someone does not get notified, that's unfortunate and I'm sorry. But frankly we're doing what we can and we're dependent on you all for the rest. Thanks for your help.


Anonymous said...

Hmm...sounds like a nerve was touched. What's the old adage..."If something is worth doing, it is worth doing well."

One would wonder whether this endeavor is worth doing with a comment like: "There are nearly 100 nominees for this event -- I will not be spending the hours it takes to make sure that every single person who is nominated has been personally contacted."

To lay the responsibility of notifying your nominees at the feet of everyone else is astonishingly arrogant.

Ah well, to quote Theodore Roosevelt: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Dave T said...

Yes, a nerve was touched. Congratulations.

To continue to criticize behind anonymous comments is astonishingly cowardly. At least when I criticize a production, my byline is on what I write.

And since in this particular case, YOU are the one being critical about how things are proceeding, ANON, I would have to agree that "it is not the critic who counts."

I do give you credit though, Anon. Your comments will add to my personal consideration about whether this is something worth devoting my time to in the future. Luckily, this effort is not just me, though, and there are others among my companions who seem to have a higher tolerance for assholes.

Frank Creasy said...

I sure hope the nitpicking over this celebration will soon end. It's getting annoying, and all I'm doing is reading this blog. I guess if I'd been doing a lot of work and receving almost as much flak as appreciation for it, I'd be pretty pissed off by now.

It's not surprising that once the nominees are announced, there's a lot of second guessing ("Why was HE nominated?", or "Why wasn't SHE nominated?"), and I would guess the RTCC board is ready for that and willing to let it happen as a normal, and probably healthy, part of the process.

I'll say again there were those I agreed with, those I took issue with, and Dave's acknowledged the board members themselves also did not completely agree. Yet it still serves as a wonderful recognition of Richmond theatrical excellence, and a great way to promote visibility of our art...this year, it will be just over a month after the opening of a tremendous downtown arts center! And to the nominees, many of whom are my friends: CONGRATULATIONS! You worked your tail off, you did great work, and you damn well DESERVE these nominations. ENJOY IT!

Having hosted a few parties myself, I know it takes a heck of a lot of work to put on an event that's enjoyable for everyone. It takes no effort, and no class, to show up and rudely criticize others' work. Come on folks, let's rise above it please and appreciate what's being done for Richmond theatre with this process and this event. If nothing else, put up ten bucks for a ticket to help the Artists' Fund, even if you don't go. A little selflessness might help focus our attention on something more important than who is sending out notifications of nominations. Maybe, anyway. I'm cautiously optimistic.

I hope some others will follow up on my comment by saying THANKS DAVE. Thanks to you and the RTCC board for doing this, even though "thanks" is weak reward. If anyone agrees, please chime in with your "amen".

Jase Smith said...

Having produced last year's event for RTCC, I can tell you that the critics make every effort to contact the nominees.

And remember please, no one is getting paid for putting on this CHARITY event. Many many hours of work by countless people go into making an evening that celebrates theatre and the artists in Richmond that create it.

To anyone that wants to knock down what RTCC is attempting to do for theatre in Richmond, perhaps you can make your own list of nominees like the Razzies.

I know I would be happy to have one of my shows on either list.

“If you have no critics you'll likely have no success.” Malcolm X

Jeffrey Cole said...

This Anonymous guy has it in for you, Dave. He posts EVERYWHERE!
Oh well...I'll gladly pony up the $10 to help my brothers and sisters. I'll even buy Anonymous a ticket. I'll even make sure he's personally invited.

Andrew Hamm said...


Best. Post. Ever.


Andrew Joseph Hamm

Last year when the nominees were announced, I considered it part of my responsibility as a producer for Richmond Shakespeare to contact my company's nominees to congratulate them. I no longer work for RS, but I still contacted each member of the company of Midsummer to let them know. I don't think that's at all an unreasonable expectation, that the producers would contact the noms.

The RTCC members are volunteering their time here, none of them is a full-time critic, and it would be a monumental task to contact each individual person. To my mind, a press release is entirely equivalent to notifying all the nominees.

eraserhead said...

Dave, this is a good blog and your work on the awards is much appreciated.

It's actually a shame that more people don't comment here; they would drown out the petty complaints of our "registered certified proof of award notice delivery Anon" crusader.

If he/she is so concerned about someone not getting notified of an award, how about volunteering next year to drive the RTCC Clearinghouse Sweepstakes van to deliver the news?

And as for the Theodore Roosevelt quote, Anon has it backwards. In this case, it's the critics who are in the arena, sweating and bleeding to make choices and recognize excellence. They count, not the anonymous poster, a "cold and timid soul" if there ever was one.

And, just in case I'm charged with anonymity, my real name is available on request.

Anonymous said...

Everyone should be careful in asuming the Anonymous of today is the same Anonymous of a couple of weeks past (i.e. Dave, Mr. Cole). Though I have always LOVED that Roosevelt quote and wished I'd included it in my comments a couple of weeks ago(Damn! That would have been a nice touch.), this Anon is not the Anon that ruffled feathers and questioned the purpose of critics recently. But GOD, I wish it was!!!! Seems I'm not the only one whose nose isn't brown. Hey New Anon, I'm not sure I agree with you on this one, but like I say, LOVE THAT QUOTE!!!! I do think the Hockey Pucks are a needed thing in town and with it only being year 2, cut 'em some slack while they work the kinks out. Buy other than that, hey, FIGHT THE POWER!
-Anon/The Ghost of Critics Past.

PS: Dave, if you think you know who's who, call me; we can straighten things out. If it's bravery you're looking for, give me a buzz, let's have coffee. I'm no coward, just in the minority it seems (Although, welcome to the club "New Anon") and not one who wants to be ostracized for not being a lemming. And, tell me, since when does someone who speaks her mind automaticly become an A hole? Let's not get personal DT. Debate is healthy and keeps all of us on our toes, namecalling is childish.

As for Mr.Cole,keep on puckering! You'll get that nomination yet.

Dan said...

exquisite irony, anon (old anon? new anon? is anyone really keeping track?), saying namecalling is childish and then basically calling other commenters lemmings, brown-nosers and ass-kissers! i think dave had it about right: you're an asshole who somehow feels free to denigrate others while somehow holding yourself above the fray. you must be very proud of yourself.

Frank Creasy said...

We're between theatre seasons, but at least we've got a lot of drama!

(Just trying to lighten the mood here...Labor Day holiday and all, have a Corona and let's all chill!)

Dave T said...

Frank, I think Bruce at Theatre IV had the same idea about lightening the mood. Check out his latest post at:

Love the "stimulating organs" line...

Jacquie O. said...

Geez Louise! I honestly don’t understand all this fuss. As Dave mentioned the top folks at each theatre company were informed of their nominees right before the “official” announcements were made (this was in large part due to the timing of placing a RTCC ad in theatre programs.) I for one will tell you that I couldn’t wait to tell our nominees that they were up for a RTCC award. And I can’t imagine that each AD and MD felt the same way I did. So, as far as Dave taking extra time to call each person…what the heck for??? And even if the theatre didn’t inform their nominees, are we to assume that these actors don’t have actor friends that will tell them? Oh come on! We are in Richmond…SMALL town, remember? AND the RTCC’s are new and they have no budget and everyone is a VOLUNTEER. Again…Geez Louise!

Anonymous said...

I just want to be in the ANON club, can I be known as "Un-nominated and Ok with it ANON"

I just feel sorry for Dave, of the 6 RTCC members, he catches all the crap! Unless I'm missing people writing Haubenstock, Burruss, Porter and such calling them assholes, arrogant, ludicrous, and whatever other bile people are throwing at you Dave.

Come on people, share the hatred! I have no doubt there is enough cry baby, whiny, dip shits out there to coat the entire RTCC board with their negative filth.

Never doubt the ability of artists, particularly theater artists, to take an event meant to bring a community together and celebrate something, ANYTHING for a good cause. And turn it into a colossal bitch session. Well done Richmond!

Susie said...

Just want to say that we started this thing last year when Dave and Mary had the great idea of using awards to raise the profile of Richmond theater. We did it totally by the seat of our pants last year, with the generous offer of the Firehouse to house it and much work from Jase Smith as our producer, and it turned out to be a lot of fun, I think, and it raised a little money for TAF, and nobody seemed very unhappy with what we had done.

Then Bruce and Phil stepped up and offered us the much larger Empire, which we were thrilled to accept, and we have Amy Kube working for us as a producer, and otherwise it's a big messy volunteer deal where certainly thing will not be perfect, but again we hope to have fun and raise money for TAF and get some more publicity for Richmond theater. And tickets are only ten bucks apiece. Hard to hate, isn't it?

As for omissions and disappointments, rest assured that we critics are six really different people who have really different preferences, and some people who were fervently appreciated by one or two or three critics didn't quite make it onto the list.

And for what it's worth, all six of us got to many more performances this year than last, including many that we did not review.

Hope that helps.

amyberlin said...

Regarding peer awards, probably a decade ago now (was it really that long?), Ann Bucci (who no longer lives here in Richmond) and I approached RAPT with the idea of an awards show modeled after the Helen Hayes Awards up in DC. We offered to do everything -- organize, produce, etc. -- for the same reasons the RTCC decided to --increase Richmond theatre's profile and have fun doing it. Plus an excuse to dress up!!

The Helen Hayes require the participation of theatre organizations -- both in providing nominators and comp tickets -- so, we felt like such an endeavor needed the backing of a city-wide organization -- and RAPT seemed like the obvious, and possibly only, choice.

The answer we received was that RAPT believed theatre was not a competitive sport, and they weren't interested. So, we dropped the idea.

Of course, RAPT then and now may have little to no overlap, people-wise. Or maybe, our proposal wasn't strong enough. Or maybe that is still the party line. I don't know.

If peer awards are really something the community is interested in, I'm glad to serve or lead or whatever on any such committee. Is Richmond a big enough city to support two awards organizations? Or is it just silly overkill?

Dave T said...

I can't speak for any of my other RTCC colleagues but I think if a robust peer awards type effort were to develop, we folks at the RTCC would have to re-evaluate whether we were needed any longer. I wouldn't see any point in two groups doing the same thing. That's just my perspective. I do share the concern that Debra mentions about the tricky dynamics of a peer awards effort. But it has been done in other towns. Who knows?

Dan said...

i am a graduate student new in town and hadn't heard of rapt. i googled it and found a website. there is a forum that doesn't look like it has had any activity since last summer. is this a going concern? just wondering.

esoteric79 said...

Peer v. Press awards...why do you think we have both the Oscars and the Golden Globes? There's room enough for everyone.