Saturday, July 31st, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Teatro la Quindicina: “The Ambassador’s Wives”

The Ambassador’s Wives, Stewart Lemonine’s newest play that just wrapped up its run at the Varscona Theatre, is one of the best Teatro la Quindicina productions I’ve seen in a while. Unlike some reviewers, I’m not smitten with every Lemoine piece – there are some that ring truer, or happen to entertain me more than others.

The Ambassador’s Wives fell in the latter category, a super-charged ride through a farcical murder mystery:

“When the Monte Carlo embassy of the tiny yet volatile Balkan nation of Panonia is besieged by treacherous beauties as a result of a diplomat’s abundant political and romantic indiscretions, lethal consequences are simply inevitable.”

What was most refreshing about this production was the balance between Teatro favourites and newcomers to the Teatro team. Though I adore Davina Stewart and Jeff Haslam (Haslam played his typical sassy, impervious character, and Teatro regular Julien Arnold was outstanding as the infallible embassy attaché), it was nice to see the change of dynamics brought about by recent graduates Jenny McKillop, Kristi Hansen and Vincent Forcier. Hansen and Forcier were especially impressive – Hansen, as the effervescent aviator/Countess of Lichtenstein, had great comic timing, and Forcier, as the playboy to wealthy older women, seamlessly shifted from starry-eyed puppy dog to tactful investigator.

I think it also helped that the theatre was absolutely buzzing. The Ambassador’s Wives was the first Lemoine show I’ve attended outside of the Fringe that has sold out – the tone of the play can definitely be influenced – good or bad – by an audience’s response, or lack thereof.

In all, it was a good night – lots of laughter, fresh licorice, and the chance to see some young performers shine. You can catch Teatro at the Fringe Festival August 13-28 with another new Lemoine work titled Witness to a Conga. Should be fun!

53 Comments

  • You come across as snotty and arrogant. I absolutely despise your pretension that you are “a reviewer” in any professional way. In fact every time I read one of your posts I think “I am not smitten with this weird women like her icky friends seem to be. I wish she’d stop subscribing to my theatre company, because she seems like such a pretentious doof. I wonder if she knows that her endlessly stuck-up self-important little reviews are deeply offensive to those of us who bust our buts for next to nothing to bring a little entertainment to this distant northern city? I wonder if she knows that her crappy 19 bucks goes to less than 40% of what it costs to pay all the artists she isn’t always smitten by? Do us all a favour lady. Write about food and take your entertainment dollar elsewhere.
    Sincerely
    Jeff Haslam

  • I totally agree with you Jeff, this reviewer is so full of herself and her reviews. I stopped reading them because everyone of her ‘reviews’? was so negative. I guess she figures her reviews gain more notoriety because of the constant put downs, especially the food articles.

    To Sharon: You will gain more support by focusing on the positive instead of the negative all the time.

    To Jeff: I apologize to you. It is too bad people like Sharon spoil things for other people.

  • “You come across as snotty and arrogant.”

    “I wish she’d stop subscribing to my theatre company, because she seems like such a pretentious doof.”

    Jeff: pot, kettle, black. If I were you I’d be embarrassed that your abusive tirade is now visible under the public eye.

    Also, are we reading the same thing? Her review doesn’t come across as negative or pretentious at all. In fact it’s quite the opposite.

  • I have never seen someone so senselessly upset by a positive review.

    I worry that Jeff Haslam cannot properly contextualize the word “latter.”
    “Unlike some reviewers, I’m not smitten with every Lemoine piece – there are some that ring truer, or happen to entertain me more than others. The Ambassador’s Wives fell in the LATTER category” (i.e. the good one).

    Jeff, if you want to be considered an actor “in any professional way,” reviews (positive or negative) are just part of the job. And this one is positive, so calm down.

    Sharon, keep up the good work, I find your reviews smart and informed. I (and many others, I am sure) consider you a professional reviewer. You have written reviews for local publications and blogs like yours are increasingly being seen as influential. I think you are great, and I am sorry for the unnecessary negativity of others.

  • Keep posting, Sharon! I enjoy reading them, especially the ‘Food Notes’ posts :)

    Definitely one of my favourite local blogs!

  • @Jeff Haslam: Wow. You would think that an artist might be grateful for giving his work some added exposure in this “distant northern city” (not to mention paying for a SUBSCRIPTION to your series of plays), even if you don’t always agree with the reviewer’s opinion or want to be her friend. You do a bang-up job of perpetuating the snobby artist stereotype, though, so well done on that and allow me to respond appropriately: Golly, thanks ever so much for lowerin’ yourself to performin’ for us backward types up here! Much obliged!

    I sincerely hope this is a case of someone leaving their computer logged in and someone else playing a prank. I apologize for the smarminess in advance and retract the previous paragraph if that turns out to the be the case. Until that’s proven out, though, the folks at Teatro la Quindicina need not concern themselves with me or anyone that I know darkening their door.

    Sharon, I think you do a great job in all the writing you do here – I find your writing very useful and informative, and I thank you for doing it. I hope that the occasional thoughtless comment doesn’t keep you from doing your writing and enjoying it.

  • It absolutely boggles the mind that a person in the world of theater would blow their top for a positive review of a production. Maybe Jeff is peeved because he’s didn’t give the most praiseworthy performance in Sharon’s eyes because she focused a little light on newer members of the group, but she still stated that she adored his work.

    It’s impossible to discredit a person’s opinion, it is their OPINION after all… Last time I checked an opinion was a personal belief or judgment not founded on proof or certainty.

    I am not surprised this comment has created a buzz.. I hope that Jeff realizes the terribly negative impact he’s making on the theater company.

  • Hey Jeff. This is one of Sharon’s icky friends here. Please don’t count on seeing one thin dime of my $19 crappy bucks either. Perhaps once that 40% of your revenue all goes away, you’ll realize your own arrogance. I would also suggest learning how to spell “butts” because you can kiss mine goodbye.

    Sharon, keep up the great work and reviews of all types.

  • Found this via a Twitter RT, and I have to say that Jeff Haslam comes across as a pretentious insecure dick who apparently can’t recognize a positive review when it’s staring him in his smug face. I sincerely hope all the negative publicity he’s brought upon himself and his theatre company comes back to bite him in his ‘but’.

    Well-written, Sharon.

  • Wow – what a nasty response to a positive review. In my former life as a theatre reviewer I sometimes wondered if my reviews were read and how they were taken. Now I know, and I’m thankful that I was reviewing prior to the age of blogging.

    What a snotty and arrogant post, Mr. Haslam. None of the few reviews on this site that I’ve read merited this kind of vitriol (and extending to insult her friends and followers, no less). Deeply offensive indeed.

    What a disappointing way to represent your company and the larger Edmonton theatre community to the city and the world.

  • OMG! Have you lost your mind, Jeff? Are you over/under medicated? Talk about snotty and arrogant…

  • Mr. Haslam is clearly not smart enough to understand how bad this makes him look.

    It always makes me laugh when a “professional” actor decides to wear his/her heart on their sleeve when it comes to reviews… perhaps this is a sign that Mr. Haslam’s acting career is reaching its end.

    For what it’s worth, I’d never heard of this blog until I saw the post on Facebook. So obviously word of Mr. Haslam’s attitude is getting around to more people than the ones who regularly frequent this website.

    Keep writing! Responses like Mr. Haslam’s just come with the territory, best to ignore them.

  • Wow that’s weird. I wonder if these people realize that blogs/internet are really the new water cooler way of spreading word of mouth. Before it used to be people at the office talking about it or friends talking about it over dinner, drinks or coffee but now it’s blogged, facebooked and tweeted.

  • Jeff Haslam’s remarks are the biggest paragragh of BS I’ve ever read. What a douchecanoe. And what a disservice he did to his fellow actors in his show and at his theatre. Now they’re douchecanoes by association…

  • What artist in his right mind describes ticket prices as “crappy 19 bucks goes to less than 40%” than the shows budget. Are you crazy? Are you really that dillusional? How condescending can you be to martyr yourself for no reason, to pat yourself on the back for bring art to your distant northern city. You need to apologise and then shut the hell up for the next few years. I wish I was a fly on the wall at your company’s next board meeting where theu decide what to do with you.

  • It’s not a secret that the Edmonton theatre scene is crowded with self-important nepotistic artists who would slit the throats of their “family” at the slightest provocation (see: MadTV), and Haslam has long been big fish in a little northern pond.

    I am going to do exactly what Jeff Haslam suggested. I’m going to spend my entertainment dollars elsewhere and avoid anything he has anything to do with in the future.

  • It should be noted that, at this time, the Northern Alberta Douchecanoe Club maintains no affiliations with one Mr. Haslam or the Teatro La Quindicina company. Discussion for strategic partnerships, however, may or may not be underway.

  • Apparently Jeff Haslam is an asshole. Hey, can you add that to your review?

  • Just found this via other social media (twitter). I think some folks aren’t used to the 21st Century yet: social media has changed the way we share information, and crowd opinions are now the norm. We get to see each others ideas about everything and anything. The age of “experts” is shifting. Much like chatting with your neighbour or someone on the bus, but now planet-wide. Cheers, from Toronto.

  • […] […]

  • I wish I lived in Edmonton so I could withhold my “crappy 19 bucks” from Mr. Haslam’s theatre.

    Also, last time I checked, theatre was full of “weird” people. AWESOME WEIRD PEOPLE. Heck, the stage is a place where the weirdest come to transmute their weirdness into great theatre.

    It must be good news for Mr. Haslam to hear that the new thing in theatre is performing for an audience of one. http://www.theatreforone.com/

  • Well, all I can say is that I certainly won’t be spending any more money on anything that has anything whatsoever to do with Mr. Jeff Haslam.

    I mean, seriously… get a life, Jeff. The poor lady LIKED your play. You have pushed forward the frontiers of exceptionally bad manners here, and I can only hope that you might see fit to offer at least a bit of contrition.

  • I decided to go back and read all your reviews of Teatro Quindicina’s performances and the one phrase that comes to mind is “death by a thousand cuts”. True, you were favourable on occasion and you certainly provided the shows with additional exposure via your blog, something you didn’t have to do considering you paid for your tickets. However, with almost everyone of your reviews, there was some sort of little jab, most of them silly or petty jabs that I would not agree with, having seen the shows as well.

    I could understand Jeff’s annoyance after years of reading your reviews, which, via the power of the internet and the social media scene, have now become almost as powerful as a traditional review in a newspaper. So, whether you want it or not, you now have responsibility as a theatre critic and as such you are accountable. And, although Jeff’s note to you was a bit over the top, I feel it was ultimately justified. Could he have handled the situation in a better way? Probably.

    What you and Maq have done to Jeff and Teatro Quindicina since then, however, is unconscionable. You knew that through the power of the social media, your opinions on Jeff’s letter would be transmitted world-wide. And you facilitated that transmission through your own blogs creating a villain out of Jeff and martyred heroes of yourselves. And someone like Jeff, who perhaps is not so tech savvy because he’s been too busy entertaining you for the last two decades, would not know the true ramifications of the shit storm that would follow. He may have hung himself, but you certainly provided the rope.

    I’ve talked to several people who have decided to side with the all powerful voice of your social media and will not be going to Teatro’s show. So, Madame and Monsier Defarge, you’ve exacted your revenge on a fragile little theatre company that had the gall to leave a comment on your blog. I hope it feels good.

  • I’m astonished at Mr. Haslam’s vitriolic response to what comes across as a great review of the production. Wonder how he reacts to bad reviews? Edmonton theatre critics beware.

  • […] too-long, didn’t-read version: Blogger writes what seems like a positive review of a Fringe show produced by a local company. Artistic director of said company posts a rather […]

  • Hey, Edmontonian friends! This is sounding sort of “Cocktail at Pam’s,” if you know what I mean. I adore food (though I spell “epicurious” differently from our bloggeress) and I adore Monsieur Lemoine’s plays (though I defend them differently from our artistic director). I PROMISE YOU I WILL FLY FROM MY HOME IN WASHINGTON, D.C., TO EDMONTON AT A MOMENT’S NOTICE if Teatro la Quindicina produces a staged reading of this thread of comments–it just needs to be a bit longer. So keep it coming!

  • I want to thank Jeff Haslam for his timely comment. I was considering purchasing tickets to the next Teatro production but I am now, thankfully, informed that I am not part of the elite in this distant northern city that is allowed to give my $19 to the production company.

    I also want to thank Mr. Haslam for still bringing the bounty of his thespian talents to us poor Edmontonians. His altruism is astonishing as surely he has turned down a myriad of better paying, more high-profile roles in larger centres. I almost weep at his sacrifice, as by now he should be a star of stage and screen in New York or London, but instead has stayed here out of the goodness of his heart.

    It is also gratifying to hear that Teatro la Quindicina, unlike other small production companies in Edmonton, is raking in so much money that they can pick and choose only those well-educated enough in theatre and reviews to attend their plays. Well done! In an industry filled with struggling companies, it is so kind of Teatro to direct those who don’t qualify to see their productions to spend their cash at other venues.

    A Grateful Commoner

  • A Theatre Practitioner
    August 19th, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Um just to comment on “embarrassed” ‘s blog comment.

    Don’t use “us”, as if you’re in a unified group against Jeff Haslam. “known to us” … just say known to “me”. Because it’s quite clear you have a personal vendetta against the man.

    The sighting of teatro getting angry at a reviewer “See Magazine” does not make it a pattern. One moment does not constitute a pattern. I like the previous comment as to this being a blog and not a review. So I wouldn’t constitute this blog controversy as adding to it in order to call it a pattern.
    Besides, See magazine didn’t like a show, Teatro didn’t like their review… Teatro doesn’t want their reviews anymore, so don’t come to the show. I can get behind that. Why be kind to someone who’s being slanderous?

    Don’t compare him to the Citadel… Apples and Oranges, man.

    And what was his facebook comment again…. you’re not quoting, you’re just giving you’re interpretation… I think what he said was “Aw shucks, I thought we did some good work. It sucks that we were overlooked.” So many things can get lost in translation over the internet unless you put a happy face behind it :)

    Also did the Fringe build Teatro. Or did the Professionals help build the Fringe. Well, the Fringe was seeing really tiny audiences when it started. What started to bring in the audiences? Was it the good shows? or the advertisements? or the buskers? or the green onion cakes? Meh… a bit of all of it probably… but when it gets down to it… the Fringe is a theatre festival… it’s built off the artists backs. Would you be so bold as to say the Folk Fest artists wouldn’t be where they were without the folkfest? Besides, lately the Fringe has been pulling some sketchy &*%$ and they need to be reminded that without the artists they wouldn’t exist.

    While Jeff doesn’t represent the typical theatre practitioner, I just want to point out that neither do you. So let’s not start throwing stones unless we’re willing to type our real names and accept the consequences.

  • I have to say while first reading Jeff’s comments I thought him to be in the wrong but then I gave it a thought and I actually don’t mind what he did, in fact I totally support it.

    Theatre reviews are a funny business. I have issues with them when they’re done by professionals – but I have to say there is bit of a structure in place when it comes to the professional review… reviewer comes in for the preview article, they meet the artist(s), discuss the play, the journey, what the company’s about, little tidbits all in an effort to have an understanding of what they’re coming to see. They develop a relationship with the artists, an understanding of what is trying to be created and then they review as to how well it was accomplished.
    When it comes to a blog post… and that’s what this is, a blog post… you don’t do the work before reviewing, you simply comment on it… and you’re asking for rebuttals. If you feel you have a right to post a review of something on your blog, commenting on somebody’s work, you better be prepared for them to comment on yours. While this review wasn’t exactly negative, I can see the points that would be taken in a negative light. And while I haven’t read the other Teatro reviews on this blog I can see how years of tiny negative comments can add up to what Jeff chose to do. And ultimately if you’re writing a review of someone’s work, is it not slightly hypocritical to not be able to take some criticism yourself. I think people should be allowed to critique the critic. It’s all subjective and therefor discussions should take place.
    Should Jeff Haslam be judged harshly for this one comment… No, he shouldn’t. I’ve met him on a few occasions and find him a very generous, friendly, hilarious man. I wouldn’t use that one comment as a means to define who he is anymore than I would use the few moments that I’ve spoken with him to do so.
    Should people stop going to Teatro shows. No, they shouldn’t. Teatro is made up of a number of artists (Jeff included) who work extremely hard for little money and little support, they love their audience and they know that the audience is the backbone of their company. And they do awesome work. I don’t think I’ve gone to a show there where I haven’t walked out happier than when I walked in.
    Should Jeff apologize… God no. Reviewers walk in and critique a piece of work that has taken months of dedication, and then pass judgement within a few seconds… they should be held accountable for what they write.

    And come on all you people hurling these negative comments… take a moment and think about the moments in your life when you’ve lashed out at someone for saying the wrong thing… we’ve all done it. It just doesn’t get blasted all over the internet and turned in to a big flame war.

  • Ok BOTH of you get over yourselves! Honestly. You are taking yourselves and your opinions far too seriously.

    As an actor you can’t take too much notice of reviews – you have to develop a thicker skin. I mean that even if they are good ones too. You can’t really believe that everyone else will feel the same way. Also Edmonton is a small town. From what I have witnessed over this fringe festival the reviewers are VERY kind to local performers especially. They give awesome 4 and 5 star reviews to often mediocre work. This would not happen in other larger cities. Take the good with the bad. You have to remain objective and not get riled up. You are completely within you rights to refuse free media tickets to people you don’t want to encourage to review your work. But seems like this woman paid for her ticket fair and square.

    And as a critic/blogger – you have to expect some critique back every now and again. You are writing things about people and putting your thoughts out there for everyone to see. Toughen up also. Even if you think your review is a positive one, it may irk some people that you feel you have the right to critique them in the first place. They didn’t ask you to review them remember. Most theater companies invite the media they want to review them.

    Ok.

  • I’ve never even heard of this blog.

  • Just to let people know, this story was just sent out on Thomas Cott’s “You’ve Cott Mail” daily theatre listserv, read by thousands of arts professionals in the U.S. (and possibly Canada as well).

    @Jason: You say “Should Jeff Haslam be judged harshly for this one comment… No, he shouldn’t. I’ve met him on a few occasions and find him a very generous, friendly, hilarious man. I wouldn’t use that one comment as a means to define who he is anymore than I would use the few moments that I’ve spoken with him to do so.”

    True, one comment does not a person make, but this comment is particularly vitriolic, and for those of us who have not had the opportunity to meet him, it casts him in a very poor light and we will judge him in that light.

    You go on, “Should people stop going to Teatro shows. No, they shouldn’t. Teatro is made up of a number of artists (Jeff included) who work extremely hard for little money and little support, they love their audience and they know that the audience is the backbone of their company. And they do awesome work. I don’t think I’ve gone to a show there where I haven’t walked out happier than when I walked in.”

    There’s a little restaurant down the street from my office, where they work extremely hard and make great food. If the owner told me (online, in person, or in confidence) that I was “snotty,” “arrogant,” “pretentious,” “weird,” “a doof,” and “endlessly stuck-up,” I’m afraid it wouldn’t matter much to me how hard the employees or the owner worked or how good the food was, I wouldn’t go there, and I’d tell everyone else not to go there, because ***in a service industry like theatre or restauranting, you don’t insult your customers*** and if I am being treated in this manner by the organization’s leadership, I fully expect that others may receive the same treatment, and would feel perfectly justified in letting people know about it.

    “Should Jeff apologize… God no.”

    Actually, he should apologize. Publicly. And profusely. As the Artistic Director, he is–like it or not–the primary public representative of his organization, and a comment like this damages both his own integrity and that of his organization, as we have seen from the follow-up comments. I’ve never seen ANY representative of ANY theatre send a message with this tone to a patron. Ever. Quite honestly, he should probably be fired by his board.

    “Reviewers walk in and critique a piece of work that has taken months of dedication, and then pass judgement within a few seconds… they should be held accountable for what they write.”

    I was an actor for 10 years and had my share of bad reviews. I’ve been an arts administrator for five years and have had my theatre receive bad reviews, from reviewers of varying degrees of competence/integrity. Sharon is not asking NOT to be held “accountable” for what she writes: clearly, she stands by it. And if Jeff disagrees with her, he is certainly permitted to say so. The problem here is that she reviewed his play in a perfectly professional manner (I don’t see the “snark” that others reference), and he wrote back with a nasty personal attack, in which he doesn’t even take the trouble to explain why he believes she is wrong. Dispute her opinion all you like, but don’t be a jerk about it. Be respectful: is that too much to ask?

  • @Tony: “You knew that through the power of the social media, your opinions on Jeff’s letter would be transmitted world-wide.”

    Wow. Um. Wow. Yeah. Wow. Apparently, @Tony thinks you and Mac have superpowers! You know the future and have world-wide control over your posts! Also, apparently, @Tony thinks Jeff Haslam is just a bumpkin luddite who has no understanding of “the social media” (weren’t Mac and Jeff “the social media” site/Facebook friends?) and the internet (does the theatre have a website…on the internet?) How does the theatre market their shows? Just through vitrol-laced word-of-mouth?

  • Had never heard of Jeff Haslam before today and now thanks to this controversy which I heard about on a discussion of web commenting practices, I will be sure never to see him on stage either. And yes, he should apologize, and resign.

  • It’s actually nice to see an artist firing back for once, even if in this case I think it’s wrongheaded. Why not? Nobody should be excluded from criticism, whether it be bloggers or theater companies. Welcome to the real world.

    On the other hand, the notion that Jeff is responding to the “small slights” through the years is ridiculous. That implies that only unstinting praise will do, which is idiotic. It’s a problem in Edmonton, where people are so sensitive we give everybody a gold star for showing up.

    And if you’re willing to go to the wall for Jeff (or any actor/theater producer) on his righteous indignation, you’d better not bat an eyelash when the Spice Girls are entered into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, or the Police Academy films are judged to stand next to Truffaut, because everyone worked real hard on those as well.

    Hey, I like Haslam’s work, and Lemoine’s as well, but I can appreciate that it’s not for everybody.

  • @John B – John I can totally see your point of view here. But let’s say you were going to that little restaurant down the street. You’ve been going there for five years. You enjoy it. The owner/head chef seems really nice. You don’t really know him. You just eat some special meal he creates for you. A recipe he came up with himself. You order something new everytime you come in. Something he’s creating for your eating enjoyment.
    But everytime you leave this restaurant you go up to the head chef and say “Mmmmm that meal was marvelous. I licked my plate clean but what was the deal with the vegetables. I didn’t understand them. Was it some French fusion thing?” Or maybe you said “Oooo… delicious meal…but I think that new cook is a little weak. The appetizer he made just didn’t put a smile on my face.” Then let’s say you went home and wrote it on your blog for the world to see. You decided to comment on these wonderful meals with the occasional comment thrown in about how Mary, the daughter of the cook isn’t quite as good as her Father. 5 years of this. And suddenly he decides he’s had enough. He’s been cooking you meals for five years and while you’re enjoying them, you also are criticizing them. He’s a chef because he loves cooking, it’s not just a job, it’s something personal. It’s his family business.
    Well, yes, I do feel that Chef would be justified in his anger towards you. You’ve chosen to criticize his work. He’s entitled to be angry at you. And he chose to do so on the PUBLIC forum that you’re writing your PERSONAL blog on. As professional as you write out your reviews… you are not a profesional food critic. Your just someone saying some nice things with an occasional stab in the back of the person cooking you a nice dinner. Yeah, that Chef should be entitled to tear a strip off you. And no you shouldn’t go back to that restaurant. YOU shouldn’t. This was an experience shared between you and that restaurant.
    This is a situation being shared between Jeff and Sharon. It really has little to do with me or you or anyone else. Sadly, it is on a public forum… but, hey, that’s great ’cause we all love a good scandal.

    Should you still go and support Teatro. Yes I still think you should. One bad banana, doesn’t mean you should throw the rest out. The bad banana here is the situation… not Jeff.

    And yes I do stand by my statement of don’t judge a man by his one comment. You don’t know the whole story. Go talk to him and then pass judgement. My point here is that it’s so easy to form a mob mentality and jump on that band wagon without understanding the full story.

    As I said before, stop and think about yourself and times that you’ve blown a fuse or lost your temper. It happens. It doesn’t define who you are.

    Should he apologize? Yeah maybe I’ll retract that and say yes he should in part. Some things were said that were a little uncalled for. I have a feeling though it wouldn’t have mattered how he worded his comments, the backlash would have been similiar. I liken the internet to road rage. People feel like they can say whatever they want without repricution. But, I do believe the apology should be done in private… it really has nothing to do with us.

    And Sharon… I do support your blog. But you’re not a reviewer (not an insult). You’re somone who has chosen to make her opinions public. This is going to mean that you have to expect that comments are going to be made in retaliation. Try not to be upset by them and keep doing what you’re doing. My comments are more about looking at the whole picture and not just grabbing a torch and forming a lynch mob at the first sign of trouble.

  • Dear Jeff,

    You come across as snotty and arrogant. I absolutely despise your pretension that you are an “actor” in any professional way. You couldn’t hack it in Hollywood so you created your own theatre in order to legally beg Edmontonians for change in Old Strathcona. (Not unlike starting your own blog if the Journal won’t hire you?)

    In fact every time I read about one of your plays I think “I am not smitten with this weird little man like his icky friends seem to be. I wish he’d stop putting on high school drama productions in a decent theatre, because he seems like such a pretentious doof and I’m sure others could use the space for something worthwhile.”

    I wonder if he knows that his endlessly stuck-up, self-important little plays in Nowhere, Alberta are deeply offensive to those of us who would rather the government subsidized REAL actors in the television and film industry?

    I wonder if he knows that the crappy 19 bucks people use to pay less than 40% of what it costs to pay all the artists took them 2 hours at minimum wage to save up and waste on the ungrateful actors in this particular company?

    Do us all a favour Jeff, tell us which summer blockbuster you’d rather we take your entertainment dollars to and we’ll be happy to do so.

    Sincerely,

    An ex-fan of Jeff Haslam

  • You people kill me. This is the internet. There is no filter here. People will say what they want. And whatever beef they have with each other they’ll simply type it out and publish it. Whether it be picking away at someone over time or a sudden outburst. This story is of the second. You’ll be onto something else, like mismatched socks on Mark Meer. Christ, get a life and pay more attention to lasting engaging commentary, not some blow-out. Try reading a newspaper or magazine. Something with substantial time and thought put into it.

  • Former Edmontonian
    August 21st, 2010 at 5:53 am

    I remember watching Jeff Haslam in Stewart Lemoine plays in the late 80s.

    If I had to spend more than 20 years performing in Stewart Lemoine plays it would make me a bit crazy. I’d feel like I was caught in a kind of endless looping nightmare that I can’t wake up from. I’d probably start drinking during the daytime and posting reckless comments to blogs.

  • I’ve gotta say that @Jason’s comments about the restaurant and the cook kind of make sense to me.

  • I will never attend another Teatro Show again.

  • Maybe Jeff is feeling threatened that the young ones are coming in and taking over the limelight and there will be no place for him anymore. This review seems benign to us but to him it’s life threatening; we are never rational when we feel our lives are being threatened. Myself, I will not be attending anymore Teatro plays because I’m deepy offended by his elitest sounding words and yet, I can still feel compassion for the poor soul.

  • Sharon,

    A friend of mine forwarded this exchange and I admit I am completely puzzled as to Jeff’s reaction – Jeff was one of my favourite actors when I lived in Edmonton way back in the 1980s and 1990s.

    I find nothing offensive or vitriolic at all in your reviews – in fact they are positive and well written. As a blogger myself on jazz I understand the perils of posting but fortunately have not gotten this kind of feedback – perhaps that is because jazz is a smaller audience. I don’t like everything I hear but try and be as objective as possible – I realize people’s preferences are widely varied.

    Keep up the great work.

  • Ok so Jeff ‘s response was pretty dramatic….but to punish a little theatre company and not buy tickets to future shows is simply as ridiculous. We should all be past the age of “I am taking my toys out of the sandbox and going home ”

    I appreciate the fact that a small group of Edmonton Actors have tried to keep us entertained… agreed that sometimes they miss the mark but most times they are spot on.
    I like to see the new faces but truly appreciate the old.. I mean that kindly : )

    Teatro la Quindicina thanks for some good theatre!
    Laurie

  • […] items piqued my interest this week when it came to the power of social media. First off there was a blog in Edmonton that received a nasty response from an Artistic Director/Actor of a local theatre […]

  • It’s unfortunate that Jeff Haslam behaved in this way, but why is this making local and national news? Someone posted a nasty note on the internet. This happens every day. The comments were not nice, I agree, but I’m not sure why this is important enough to be considered ‘news.’

  • @Huh?

    And yet here you are, reading the whole thing and putting in your two cents.

  • The only reason I knew about this incident was because I read about it in Todd Babiak’s column in the Journal a couple of days ago. I came here to see what the fuss was about: I read the blog post in question, read Jeff’s comment, read a few other comments here and there, and had a look at one or two of Sharon’s reviews of Teatro shows. I have not read “the whole thing,” I can assure you of that, and I only came here yesterday, quite a few days after Jeff’s comment was first posted.
    I don’t follow this blog, and would not have known about this incident if I hadn’t come across the column in the Edmonton Journal.

    I don’t doubt that the drama that has unfolded here has been upsetting to the parties immediately involved, but when you consider the bigger picture that includes all arts-loving Edmontonians, what happens on this blog concerns only a fraction of those people. Not everyone reads blogs regularly. Not everyone spends a lot of time online. I’m sorry, but one comment on someone’s blog is not newsworthy to me.

  • Isn’t this a food blog… let’s talk about how great Sabor De Vino is on Boardwalk. I ate their today and loved it

  • I’ve enjoyed Jeff Haslam’s work for many years now; I attend as many Teatro La Quindicina’s productions as I can and I plan to keep doing so.
    I never read blogs; well, I’ve read some (5,6?) in the past and I didn’t find them very interesting. The only reason I read this blog today was because of Babiak’s column (he can hold my attention) . I don’t rely on bloggers or “real” reviewers (as someone wrote. I guess she/he meant to say “professional”) to form an opinion about a play, movie , TV show or book. Why should that change now ?

  • […] the original blog post, another from a popular Edmonton blogger, Mack D. Mail, an article from the Edmonton Journal on the […]

  • Wow, Sharon. I must have read your articles about all the plays 4 times and this one in concern even more…I really don’t get why a positive review got such nasty comments. I am sorry at how the person in question handled himself.

    The key issue that resonated with me is the way Jeff Haslam chose to handle the situation with zero professionalism. To be professional, to me at least, is to be hardworking…to love what you do and try to achieve better. But a true professional also ensures that he/she is doing things that will protect his/her designated profession’s public image. Whether there is a written code of conduct for actors or not is besides the point – people of the same profession ultimately should stick together and protect one another…writing such comments on a public forum and not clearly explaining the reasons behind the comments is simply not the way to go.

    He’s certainly entitled to his opinion but the way he did it was quite selfish. He has shown no regard to what possible negative impacts he may make on his company. I have no doubt that his fellow artists are very dedicated and passionate about their work like he says; nevertheless, he has proven to be the worse person possible to represent them in any way no matter if he intended to speak on their behalf or not at the time.

    Correct me if I am wrong but I believe the first thing we are taught in any writing class is that a writer should consider his audience? I am sure Mr. Haslam is a talented man and could have used much more suitable words when addressing a patron of his shows and the wider community even if he was in disagreement with her comments. Hence, I can only derive that the words he DID choose to write was meant to personally insult you and the readers of this blog. And in doing so, he has directly insulted himself and his profession. How unfortunate. I do hope that his fellow actors do not have to receive any negative brunts due to his iressponsibility.

    Most importantly, I am very happy that you are continuing to do what you are doing. Your love of the city is infectious…in fact, you are the one that has encouraged a couch potato (me) to explore the city more…and to convince me to go to a Fringe play or two. Please continue to do what you do and thanks for the great contributions so far. We can’t wait to read about your new adventures! :)

  • […] Yeo for her review of the Lemoine of the moment (The Ambassador’s Wives; read Yeo’s review here). Haslam fired off a scathing comment, using words like “snotty” and “arrogant” and […]

Leave a Reply