Who is “this one company” that seems to be Terrorizing Critic Frances Baum Nicholson?

Saw this rather sad but incredibly honest and insightful post from longtime critic Frances Baum Nicholson at her Stage Struck Review site.

Frances has written theatre reviews for thirty plus years in the Pasadena area for a number of publications including the Pasadena Star-News and the Altadena Chronicle. She laments the “flames” and the “trolls” of the internet age that spew invective and hate without having to be answerable for their actions, hiding behind the anonymity of screen names.

Hey, it’s the world of the blogosphere, right? We get it all the time here at the Lemon. For the most part, luckily, people who comment here are able to remain civil and intelligent. Not always, but for the most part. One can try and hold some standards but there are just too many nasty, unpleasant people out there who have finally found a place to whine and complain and not have to answer for it.

But the interesting wrinkle in this story is that Frances has reasoned out to a pretty confident degree, that most of her regular trolls ALL COME FROM THE SAME THEATRE COMPANY.

Now she doesn’t name the company, but she is clearly speaking directly to them and their multitude of fans in her post.

Listen as she talks about the nature of these messages and the messengers who deliver them:

For the uninitiated, there is a word for these kinds of messages. They are called “flames.” And people who begin to make a habit of writing insulting and derogatory messages are called “trolls.”

And, yes, I have encountered trolls since this blog began. Interestingly, almost all, though not absolutely all, of the troll-like behavior comes from the fans, or perhaps the members, of one theater company – people who (also unlike a previous age) use screen names or even remain anonymous so they can spew without being answerable for their actions. My ancestry has been impugned, as has my eyesight. I have been called heartless, or pandering, or been seen as showing wild favoritism toward some other theater. I have been psychoanalyzed as having a childhood of underachievement I’m somehow trying to compensate for by trying to destroy others from my apparently lofty current height. It’s all rubbish, of course, but it has become the aftereffect of virtually every review I write about this one company.

Sadly enough, this theater sometimes does excellent productions. Still, sometimes they do not. No theater company is fabulous all the time. Now I find myself beginning to hesitate when asked to attend one of their shows. With no editor here other than me, there is no filter anymore. Hate can arrive right on my doorstep. I know it is part of the job, but frankly it’s getting old.

It’s a very worthy read from someone who has been writing about theatre for a very long time and has been trying to make the transition to the new age of media.

But what REALLY interests me, of course, is I wanna know who “this one company” is! I’m gonna take a wild guess and say it’s a Glendale-Pasadena area theatre, but that’s as far as I can get.

Any guesses, LemonHeads?

Or perhaps some of the members or fans of “this one company” would care to step forward? Anonymously of course.

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Colin Mitchell About the Author: COLIN MITCHELL: Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Father, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Broadway veteran, Marvel comics scribe, Van Morrison disciple, Zen-Catholic, a proud U.S. Army Brat conceived in Scotland and born in Frankfurt, Germany, currently living in Los Angeles and doing his best to piss off as many people as possible.

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  1. Brian says:

    I haven’t read the review or the flames yet, but I do know that FBN is one of the best critics we have in the area. Not the Pasadena area, the Southern California area. She is thoughtful, insightful and articulate. She brings intelligence to her reviews that many critics could learn from. It’s upsetting to hear she is under attack.