Love/Hate Mail 

We’ve been waiting for an Olson comeuppance

We’ve been waiting for an Olson comeuppance

I just read Todd Olson’s 47th or so letter to Love/Hate Mail since he parted ways with Tennessee Repertory Theatre two years ago. His predictions of what kind of season the Rep will offer next year will appear remarkably accurate by the time this letter appears, as the Rep’s season is due to be announced in the interim. I’m pretty sure of that because, like any number of folks in Nashville’s theater community (some of whom regularly correspond with Todd Olson down in Florida), I’ve been aware of what the Rep’s season was going to be for about a month. I only wish I’d have thought to turn that knowledge into an Amazing Kreskin routine just like Todd did! I, too, could have made Rep season “predictions” that prove to be uncannily prescient. I, too, could have added a heaping helping of contempt into the mix so that everybody could be so very, very impressed by how smart and superior I am. If only I hadn’t been too busy running a theater to waste my time on grandstanding parlor tricks, then I myself could have been The Great Olson!

And since I am still living and working in Nashville’s theater world, reasonable people probably wouldn’t wonder what is so wrong with me that I have to keep spewing gas to a Nashville newspaper about a Nashville theater scene that I didn’t even understand a long time ago—back when I was in it for a few months. Now, I doubt that anybody in Nashville doesn’t know that the Rep is in trouble. Many of us in Nashville have maintained for many years that the Rep’s relationship with TPAC (even before the Rep was officially absorbed) made for a systemic dysfunction that would be difficult, if not impossible, for any artistic leadership to overcome. I don’t know if David Alford can do it, but I am grateful that he’s willing to try. I’ve known David for 14 years, and I know a few things about how he thinks. We agree on some things and disagree on others, but I can speak to his bona fides. He’s run a professional theater company in Nashville for 10 years and kept it in the black—which is 10 times what anybody’s done at the Rep to date. And whether or not you agree with David’s season selections, I’ve known David long enough to know that nobody but David Alford picks David Alford’s season. As you know, Todd, David Alford has a mighty big Hail Mary pass to pull off if the Rep is to survive.

Theater is a struggle everywhere nowadays. I suspect there are plenty of problems in St. Petersburg, Fla., that need your attention. There are plenty of swimming pools down there for you to pee in, and lots of fine folks down there for you to condescend to. Hey, they probably have newspapers that will print your letters down there where you have to live with the consequences of what you write! Try your Kreskin routine with them. It is as impressive as it is convincing.

Scot Copeland

Producing director, Nashville Children’s Theatre (Nashville)

Editor’s Note: Todd Olson is a former Rep employee.

In half agreement

I enjoyed your story about fact-checking (“Breaking the Rules,” Feb. 12). I don’t agree with you entirely—I don’t feel comfortable showing sources the text of a story, but I often read them paragraphs and direct quotes to make sure I’m on the mark. But I think you made some valid points about how reporters really can get more news and avoid screwing up by checking more thoroughly with sources, especially when the individual reporter won’t allow himself to be manipulated.

I’ll disagree with you on one other point. I don’t often read The Tennessean, and I’m not a huge Gannett fan, but I’d say the Sunday Tennessean story about police chases was pretty damn good and exposed an abuse of power. I’m biased—one of the writers is a good friend of mine—but it was pretty good journalism.

Thanks for writing your story. You explored an issue that needs to be discussed more.

Paul Wilson

Staff writer, The Charleston Gazette (W.Va.)

Er, uh, did she change her mind?

“Sheryl Crow has moved to Nashville. (A crib in East Nashville? Or is it Leiper’s Fork?) Meanwhile, the tabloids say Crow is dating the newly divorced Lance Armstrong. So we’re wondering: How long until there’s an Armstrong sighting in Percy Warner Park, with those Legs Of Titanium whirling past in a bluuuuur. To report an Armstrong sighting, call 244-7989, ext. 445.”

Thank God for the Scene! How else would I have known that my sister has moved to Nashville (We Hear, Feb. 12)? Had I seen the column earlier, I would have shared your information when she called yesterday from her current residence in Spain. If you find a Nashville address for her, will you please forward it? I’m sure she’d like to know whether it’s East Nashville or Leiper’s Fork too. Whichever the case, it’s for certain that Lance will be training for the Tour de France at Percy Warner.... What Tour de France contender hasn’t been seen cycling there?

Exciting stuff! Your sources are definitely “in the know.” Keep it up.

Kathy Crow (Nashville)


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