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Erik Piepenburg, Patrick Healy, A.V. Chaban’s Article Reviews

“Behind the Poster: ‘The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey”

Erik Piepenburg wrote the article “Behind the Poster: ‘The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey” for The New York Times’ official website and posted it on 2 February 2015. Summarizing the main point, Piepenburg analyzes the poster for the outstanding one-man performance. By talking with the creator of it, Mr. Marsini, the author, scrutinizes a hidden topic and message of the posted message, discovering the secret meaning of colors, wings, platforms, and the overall design of the placard.

This particular article has caught my eye by a huge picture of the very poster. It is so colorful and bright that it makes every person interested in the text below. The boy, standing with his back to the audience and spreading the wings, tells about some kind of mystery and extraordinary background of the poster. Contrast and combination of colors only strengthen this impression. Therefore, I have decided to write about it to share my impression.

This article has become a great opening for me. Being a thankful spectator for any sort of drama, I have found out the essence of this new and interesting play. Previously, I have not heard about ‘The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey’. This article has made me interested in it. Another new thing for me has been that the poster shows not only the name of the play, movie or event. In reality, it is a separate art form, reflecting the essence of the drama. I have been surprised that every detail and color of this rather simple drawing tells a viewer about the things happening in the play. For example, Mr. Marsini has stated said that wings, the shoes with the platform, and the absence of the face are the attributes of the main character (Piepenburg). These features have been also reflected in the poster, even the boy standing by his back leaves the viewer the space for imagination.

As it has been said above, the first thing, which catches attention, is a poster image. However, reading further, one can say that the writing style and content of the article also impresses. The text is light and easy, but simultaneously informative and analyzing. It combines a simple narration and an interview report, which I find the most successful combination. Despite it is being not a review, critique or analysis of the very drama, it has made me willing to see the one-man performance myself and figure out whether the interviewee’s words are reflected on the stage. The author does not use complicated word combinations, specific drama terms, and phrases. The article corresponds to an op-ed piece style as it gives the required information but does not go deeply into complicated details.

Personally, I have liked this article for the interview. I love when the text, no matter if it is a journal article, review or some information in a magazine, includes primary sources. It makes the paper more evidential. In addition, it is interesting to read the initial sources, especially the direct opinion of people on this or that matter, as well as the reasons and causes for the particular piece of art. Such knowledge partly opens the mystery of how artworks are created. In this case, Mr. Marsini’s words have made me willing to know more about Leonard Pelkey and his life, as well as create my own image of his personality. In addition, I have become interested in the role of the poster in creating the image of the play and using the particular color set to achieve a certain goal.

In general, I have a positive impression after reading this article. It has satisfied the expectations about the brightness of its content. Perhaps, it is this way because the interviewee and the author of the poster have been the single person. The author completely addresses the topic and gives comprehensive evidence for his statements in the interview. Therefore, the same colorful, deep, and thought-provoking thought has been represented in the image and text.

“For 90 Years, the Whitby Has Been a Bastion for Broadway Performers”

Matt A.V. Chaban has written this article also for The New York Times magazine. It was posted on 29 December 2014 soon after Christmas. Herein, the author briefly discusses the history of Whitby’s residential property, being home for hundreds of artistic people and those persons appreciating their work. The author tries to find the key reasons for this building to have been popular among actors, dancers, writers, singers, and musicians for decades.

I have heard a lot about this building and its rich history. However, I have never read about it in detail to deepen my knowledge and distinguish what is right or what is wrong in these facts. Therefore, when this article arrived in my hands, I have got an opportunity to enrich my image of Whitby. It is a very old building and has a bright history. However, what makes this construction stand out of many others is those people living inside it. This article has given me an opportunity to familiarize myself somehow with these individuals. Therefore, I have decided to write about it in order to share my opinion on how the history of such an outstanding place should be provided to readers.

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In general, to my regret, I have learned almost nothing new from this article. Almost everything, but the memories of Whitby’s inhabitants, I have already known from the general information about the building. As a matter of fact, the author has presented the already famous material in a slightly new format. The memories of Whitby, some impressions and thoughts about the home have been presented. Telling the truth, I like the article, in general. Starting from the content and ending with the narration and writing style, it was all the general knowledge. This building is covered with mystery, unexplained magnetism for art people, and the tinge of the historical secret. I consider that the author’s language should have reflected its essence, at least a little. Instead, he simply talks about the obvious (mostly geographical) reasons for this construction being so popular among art workers. There is only a slight paragraph about the feelings and emotions of Whitby’s inhabitants towards the building. However, it is not enough for reflecting the whole entourage of it.

I partly like this article in terms of dealing with such a historical place in New York. Whitby is interesting not only for its architecture but also for the times past it witnessed and people it kept inside. One of the residents says that the building has an inspiring atmosphere since everyone rehearses something. I like this part of the article since it presents the primary source and real thoughts of persons.

The absence of some particular and interesting information about Whitby’s history has made me even more interested in its biography. I have found several other articles and books on this matter and started investigating this topic more closely. I have begun learning about architecture, changing a purpose and famous inhabitant of the construction. I have been really impressed by its rich history. In addition, this article has made willing to communicate with Whitby’s inhabitants in order to feel what they feel and understand the intrinsic reason for living there.

In general, my impression after reading is controversial. On the one side, the narration is dry and rather informative than descriptive. The article lacks specific details, not taking into account the extracts from the inhabitants’ words. On the other side, the author completely addresses the topic of the paper. He starts discussing the reasons for Whitby being inhabited mostly by people related to art. The other thing is that, to my mind, Chaban does it superficially and without sparkle.

“Sex and Violence, Beyond the Script”

This article was written by Patrick Healy for The New York Times and posted on 15 March 2015. The author’s focus has been done on the violence and harassment among the people of art, i.e. writers, actors, directors, playwrights, and others. The main point is that actors work in an unregulated and sometimes dangerous environment. They frequently have no ability even to report about violence.

This article has caught my eye by its background picture and title. There is something magnetic and mysterious in the eyes and overall appearance that have made me read the text below. In addition, I did not expect to see the title with words sex and violence in terms of the drama topic. Therefore, the naming is very catchy and that is the reason why I have decided to write about this article in order to uncover its secret.

The text content was a complete surprise for me. I have never known that actors could suffer from harassment and violence in the workplace, but not outside of it. One can frequently hear that this or that star is followed, harassed or even beaten by his/her fan. However, the news about any star behaving violently towards a colleague is not so rare. Perhaps, such situations appear due to a relatively free and artistic atmosphere in the art environment. Therefore, the border of work and personal life is indistinct.

I have been really impressed not only by the content of the article but also by its writing style. First of all, the author has chosen a slightly scientific and concise narration. Patrick Healy presents the background, causes, and consequences of the violence problem, as well as gives much evidence for this problem existing. In addition, he uses the citations from the victims of harassment in the theatre, making the plot more evident. The language is slightly dry and informative, but it is appropriate for such kind of writing. Simultaneously, the logic is simple and understandable for any reader, thus widening the article’s target audience. Moreover, the author writes in a very sympathetic manner. He appeals to his readers with some sense of compassion.

I like this article for its smooth, concise, and chronological structure. In addition, it is an example of journalistic investigation. Patrick Healy provides his findings not giving any extra information and not using a pitiful language. He appeals only to the readers’ emotions. In addition, I like the author’s techniques for working with facts. He provides the sequence of facts and then gives their causes as well as consequences using primary sources and statistical data. This type of writing is the most informative one for me. It performs the principal goal of journalism for informing the audience about some important life issues.

The article leads me to know more about the milestones of the actors’ profession and the risks they deal with every day. They are frequently made follow the show must go on doctrine, sacrificing their body and dignity for the sake of the successful play. It has impressed me a lot. As a result, I have visited the website of Actor’s Equity union to familiarize myself with the measures they take to prevent and limit violence and harassment in theatre.

In general, this article has appealed to me the most from the discussed three ones above. It properly addresses the topic, performs its journalistic purpose, and reflects the writer’s skills in the best way. The information given in the text is useful not only for actors, who do not know how to deal with violence and harassment in the workplace. However, some facts and data may be purposeful for young people willing to join this occupation.

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