Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Horton Awards - explained!

Now I'm not a member of the Horton Awards panel, but I am an acquaintance of Forsythia "Fipsy" Aldertwitt, co-foundress of the Horton Awards, which of course were named after Cabot Sheridan Elliott "Lodge" Horton, the Dean of Boston Letters (particularly J and F), and the longest-lived drama critic in American history until he spontaneously combusted at 103½. As "Fipsy" and I have shared a certain mutual affection ever since I stumbled over the packing crate she was living in outside Louisburg Square, I thought I'd ask her a few questions about the so-called "irregularities" people have been pointing out to me in the nominations for the Horton Awards this year.

TG: First, Fipsy, I just want to say what an honor it is for me to be interviewing such an august and perspicacious presence as yourself.

FA: Why, thank you Bob. I mean George.

TG: And I want to compliment you - and the other members of the Horton panel - on the level of creativity you've brought to the nominations this year!

FA: Yes, well, these award ceremonies can be such a dragged-out royal pain in the ass that we thought this year we'd cut to the chase with fewer categories and a more innovative and inclusive mindset.

TG: I see. Can you give me an example of this innovation?

FA: Well, our latest inspiration was to combine the awards for costume, set, lighting, AND supporting actress all in one category. For the past several years our "competition," if you will - well, they like to think of themselves as our competition - the so-called "Norton" Awards, have been combining completely different disciplines under the general rubric of "Design." And there have been some complaints from the occasional small-minded costume designer about how her handiwork couldn't really be judged against a lighting plot. But the Nortoneers found that if you just ignore that kind of negativity, you soon find it fades away, and it's time for more "innovation"! So this year we made the very edgy decision to lump the supporting actress category in with the design disciplines, you know, just to mix it up, get jiggy wit' it - as well as one-up those pesky Nortoneers! So the new award will go to "Best Lighting, Costume, Set, Sound, or Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role." You can see that with five awards cut down to just one, we should be off to the after-party in no time!

TG: I also see a certain flexibility in the large, mid-size, and small theatre categories . . .

FA: But aren't those categories completely artificial? I mean, what's money, after all. I think this actually opens up opportunities for our smaller companies, not that I've seen any myself, but I'm sure they're worthy. And again, with awards like "Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Fringe, Mid-Size or Large Company, or National Tour," the award ceremony itself should be super-streamlined.

TG: But -

FA: Look, Bill, I know what you're thinking - the Horton panel just hasn't seen that much fringe, and they're trying to hide it - but let me assure you that is not the case. I've seen plenty of fringe in my time. Why, there's fringe on that curtain right over there!

TG: Yes, but -

FA: Just think of it as right-sizing, Tim. It's like a new paradigm. A Third Way. Everything has changed, and people just don't have the attention spans for all those separate categories. We're uniters, not dividers, and we're going to be playing "My Heart Will Go On" after anyone talks for more than ten seconds, just like on the Oscars! Because these days people are on the go, particularly when an open bar is involved. And if you're not down with that, well we're going to walk right over you. The Horton Awards are going to totally rawk!

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