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Missed the Boat 

Last week, our theater critic, Byron Woods, gave a two-star review to The Cake, a PlayMakers production of Beka Brunstetter's new drama. "The Cake," Woods wrote, "is a rare thing in our current moment: a calculated apologia for conservative Southern Christianity and the antigay bigotry its practitioners have inculcated in their families—and have attempted, through legislation, to impose on everyone else."

In an email, Rick takes exception to that description: "Your review of PlayMakers' current offering missed the boat big time.  The play portrayed all the characters as humans—flawed, ignorant, clueless, but mainly capable of love—both giving and receiving. The reviewer describes Macy's character as a 'boorish, invasive, crusading liberal from the north'; a more accurate—and compassionate—description might be 'someone who has their own set of preconceived notions, acting with preemptive defensiveness, thereby allowing the audience to perceive this character as someone in pain and confusion, perhaps not speaking from a safe place, thus speaking in a way in which humans generally don't talk.' This is one of the finest plays I have seen at PlayMakers in a long time; your two-star ranking does a disservice to your readers."

Letter writer Trumpet Player offers another critique: "The Cake was an excellent production of a charming, witty, and funny new play.  The characters were true to life, engaging, and multidimensional. The set was brilliantly done in its flexibility. Someone needs to tell Byron Woods: 1) he needs to attend a performance before doing a review; and 2) the review needs to be about the play and its production, not his personal viewpoint on the subject matter of the play."

David Crispell, meanwhile, writes in praise of Adam Sobsey's piece last week on the Durham Bulls' successful quest for an International League championship. "Minor league ball is a beautiful and weird experience where elite talent in an industry trains and develops in front of a crowd that expects entertainment nightly.  (I will never forget going to see David Price pitch for the Bulls to catch a glimpse of an elite talent, only for him, under the orders of the Rays, to throw change-up after change-up and get hammered by Indianapolis and some guy named Andrew McCutchen.) I appreciate both the knowledge and twinge of nostalgia necessary to savor baseball like the fine wine of sport that it is. 

"Rarely does the INDY delve into such low-culture happenings as sport, but frankly this is the best coverage I have found on the championship. The Bulls are a big part of Durham, and in particular its last decade of renaissance. As someone who has had a napkin signed by Chipper Jones at the DAP (Mom threw it away cleaning my room one day) and a ball signed by Andruw Jones at the DBAP;  has played on the field at the DBAP and now coaches at DAP; was as a bat boy once instructed to go pick up front teeth off the pitcher's mound after a brawl featuring Bulls' battery mates Jason Standridge and Paul Hoover; and a father who now takes his boys to Wooly's House every chance I get—the Bulls are in me like red clay, the waters of the Eno, and Brunswick stew."

Commenter pdeblin is less effusive: "I guess using the logic of this article. the NCAA championships won by Duke or UNC or Kentucky or any other team don't really matter because a large number of players involved are one and done. The same could be said for the NFL, where rosters change dramatically from year to year due to free agency and injury. I would say a minor league baseball championship where over one hundred games are played with a solid core of players is more meaningful than an NCAA championship played by players who don't even play forty games for their team. On the other hand, who cares? It's a game."

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