After reading the piece “Break a Leg, but not Literally” by Opinions Editor Angela Walukonis (Nov 3), I felt a bit amused and offended all at once at her early “review” of The Three Musketeers.
Amused, because Ms. Walukonis really has no leg to stand on when it comes to judging theatre. Her assertment that working an internship for Walt Disney World somehow gives her some credibility in her views, but actually she is incredibly uniformed in what is considered artistic theatre. I have a MFA in Acting from the University of Florida with nearly 20 yrs. of professional acting experience on my resume, and what Ms. Walukonis fails to see is Walt Disney World trains performers how to MIMIC well established characters. These performers do not study a craft. They work hard, certainly, but they do not create a role from scratch and make decisions how to best play a character in conjunction with a director’s view. That is what a theatre actor does.
That shortsided remark aside, what I found offensive was Ms. Walkonis’ backhanded swipes at FSU’s Theatre Department throughout the article. On one hand she acknowledges the hard work and dedication it takes to create a production, but after explaining how a FSU production did not meet her expectations (“I was cringing”) she writes: “Now my levels of expectations have been brought back to reality and should be somewhat normal for what is about to come this weekend to the Williams Auditorium, “The Three Musketeers.” If you are a hard critic like myself and plan on watching the show, try to look past any mistakes or flubs if any do occur.”
To say her tone in those remarks is condescending would be putting it mildly. What, exactly, made her “cringe?” The acting, the directing, was it the script? She did not specify this at all. Was the production value lacking? If she was looking for FSU to have the same kind of production value as Walt Disney, then here’s a real world wake up call: MOST theatres do NOT have nearly that kind of money. In all honesty, FSU is pretty lucky to still even have a theatre department in these economic times. Maybe the sets/costumes/lighting will not be as flashy as Walt’s, but one will not see a “canned” show, either.
I’m also surprised that despite Ms. Walkonis offering credit to the hard work that actors do, she does a spectacular job in destroying morale in the cast by telling readers not to expect too much from their hard work. If she still has aspirations to do some acting someday, here’s a tip from a pro: Theatre is a small, small world. Sometimes you will be in amazing shows, sometimes you will not. But you will work with a LOT of the same people, or with people who know who you’ve worked with. Burning bridges the way you did with your article will not win you friends in that community.
Melanie Gray Robinson
Former FSU Student and Torch Writer,
Professional Actor/Theatre Instructor
Ramstein AFB, Germany.
I was surprised by Angela Walukonis’s piece on theatre at FSU. I disagree with her claim that “every single audience member will be judging the entire show.” On the contrary, I’ve heard only positive comments, from both students and faculty, about FSU theatrical productions. Audience members do not attend these plays to judge. They go to support their classmates and watch a great show put on by volunteer effort. I’ve never cringed throughout a FSU theatre production as has Ms. Walukonis. Rather, I sit marveling about how our students with jobs and full courseloads manage to produce such phenomenal shows.
I was extremely impressed with the quality of “The Three Musketeers,” not least the professional level of swordfighting! Every person both onstage and behind the scenes worked so hard on that show, and it was evident. It was a fantastic show and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you to all the students who poured their hearts and their time into making “The Three Musketeers” a resounding success.