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but it is still not quite the same.

Then there is the matter of the typeface. The look of the notice. Any journalist changing papers will tell you the traumatic effect of seeing his stuff set up in a different format and a different typeface. Any different format, any different typeface. When I left The Times of London for New York and surveyed my efforts in New York's seemingly crimped columns, it took me months to acclimatize.

But most of all there is Clara. Along with my wife Trish, my daughter Maya and my wife's sister Rosemary, Clara Rotter is among the most important women in my life. I inherited her from Brooks Atkinson as The Times drama secretary, and I needed her more than any other Times critic ever has or could. She ran my life as smoothly as--what was it some article said?--an airline schedule. But it was better than that. She could do anything -- and demonstrated this regularly twice weekly.

One strange thing about the Post is its rhythm. I have never worked on an afternoon paper in my entire career--so I have to accustom myself to a newspaper where people arrive at four o'clock in the morning. A time when any moderately civilized person is going to bed.

My actual deadline is not all that different. My reviews are picked up from my apartment at midnight, but then--silence.  I don't smell the printers' ink, I don't have a convoy of copyboys grabbing my paragraphs as they emerge cold-minted off my typewriter, and I don't have the paper itself deposited on my doorstep first thing in the morning. I don't actually see what I have written until nearly lunchtime. Then after lunch, while my paper is slowing down, I am just speeding up for the evening sprint. Odd! I know I shall get used to it, but for the moment, odd. It is like telling an actor he is playing nothing but matinees. The job is the same, but you need a period of adjustment.

One thing I love is writing at home. Newspaper offices are generally uncomfortable places, and the books you need for that last-second reference are rarely to hand. It is a terrific help to be writing in my own library, only a hand's-reach away from wisdom and accuracy.

Confessions of a Drama Critic--so what over ten years have I learned to confess? In fact 1978 sees my 28th year as a critic, so I feel as old as a Moses who has been relentless about his keep-fit classes and is resolved to survive until the next commandment strikes him. I have learned some things. I think.

It has not been an easy decade. After my very first year William Goldman wrote a book called "The Season." One of his kinder comments was: "I think Clive Barnes is the most dangerous, the most crippling critic in modern Broadway history, and I only hope he is dispensed with before these words reach print."

Ludicrously oversensitive even as a child, I found this remark less than encouraging, although I did learn one or two things from Goldman's detailed indictment--it went on for about nine pages of closely-printed text. I pulled myself together and tried harder. Indeed ten years later when Lehman Engel wrote a somewhat forgettable little book The Critics (did you know that even parasites have parasites?) I had clearly progressed. Or at least I had fulfilled every one of Mr. Goldman's predictions, for Mr. Engel ended his particular pages of vituperation with the friendly but I suspect definitive comment: "The destruction he has [[continued on following image]]
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PLAYBILL (R) February 1978
ARTHUR T. BIRSH--publisher
JOAN ALLEMAN RUBIN--editor-in-chief
MARIA THOMPSON--program coordinator
CATHERINE MCGAHAN--administrative assistant
LEO LERMAN--senior editor
THOMAS A. STEINFELD--national sales director
L. ROBERT CHARLES--general sales director
ELAINE KLEIN--director of special sales
IRV WINICK--restaurant and entertainment sales
MARY F. SEATON--assistant to the publisher
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PLAYILL Magazine is published monthly in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. New York edition of Playbill is published by American Theatre Press, Inc., 151 East 50th Street, N.Y., N.Y. 10022. 212-751-9550. President & Treasurer: Arthur T. Birsh; Vice-Pres.: Steven J. Kumble; Secretary: Mary F. Seaton. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright (c) American Theatre Press, Inc., 1978. All rights rserved. PLAYBILL(R) American Theatre Press, Inc.

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