Wednesday, January 16, 2008

On newstands now

So this week's Style features both my review of "Spanish Tragedy" and MaryB's preview of the One-Act Showcase at the Firehouse. We're still weeks away from the Virginia primary so voting for the winning play will be good practice at the polls.


Unknown said...

I question the wisdom of Style having Mary Burruss write reviews for the Firehouse Theatre. My understanding is that she has some relationship with the venue and was at least a co-producer if not producer of last year's Austin's Bridge which I found to be woefully done and overacted. No wonder her piece reads like a press release rather than a critical analysis. Where is the journalistic detachment I ask?

Dave T said...

Welcome back, Siegfried. The piece you mention is a preview, i.e., reportage. The plays have not been staged yet. What exactly would there be to critically analyze? Much of the feature reportage in every newspaper -- even in august publications like the New York Times and the Washington Post -- starts with a press release. As to Mary's relationship with the Firehouse, the subject of a critic's relationships within the theater world have been addressed here before. Check out this post for a little review.

Anonymous said...

I have to chime in here too Seigfried. I used to be a critic when I lived in Austin. My partner and I owned a hand-ball business and tag-teamed the reviews in a local paper there while we were also moonlighting as directors/producers for many of the shows at a particular theater. Our in-depth reviews generated more interest and thus more traffic. We spent a great deal of time boning-up on other productions, so that we could commit equal time to all productions. It's all about the hype and getting other people excited enough to come.

APrevitera said...

Hi Dave, as a first time poster to your blog, let me say how great it is to have a resource like this for the Richmond theatre community. It is nice to see the spirited discussion and sharing of ideas.

The reason for my post is to give a short general response to the feedback on 'Spanish Tragedy'. I am always happy to get honest feedback on our productions and your comments were certainly appreciated. As with anything, sometimes you agree and sometimes you have to agree to disagree. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion.

Anyone who sees the show will form their own thoughts, but let me say the following:

I am very proud of the actors and crew for the work that they did on this show. This play was a Herculean undertaking to say the least. Between the text, the puppets, the set, the blood, the violence, the costumes, I think all in all we pulled off a fine product. Watching everyone grow throughout the process from struggling to confident has been incredible. What is not lacking in this show is our effort.

The text is difficult in many spots, but I felt that it was a play that was worth doing in Richmond. It's a play that you may never see again. Oftentimes, we see Shakespeare performed and that's it, but rarely do we get a chance to see his contemporaries performed. Sure, Kyd's play may be a bit rough around the edges compared to Shakespeare - it may lack the music of Shakespeare's verse. It's a valid criticism, but I also think that you have to look at it as a play that broke new ground in its day. Without 'The Spanish Tragedy', 'Hamlet' may not be what it is today.

I am happy with the response that we've gotten so far. It is a huge testament to the actors. This is a group of people that I would work with again anytime, anywhere. They have, in my opinion, pulled off an extremely difficult show.

That being said, there is always room for improvement and we look forward to you and your readers sharing in our journey and watching us grow over time. Any constructive feedback is always appreciated.

Thank you again for allowing me to post some insight into our thought process. Thank you as well for your honest words. I look forward to posting more often on this blog and I look forward to meeting you in person in the future.

Best -

Alex Previtera
Artistic Director
Henley Street Theatre Company

joni mitchell said...

I saw Spanish Tragedy last Saturday and echo your sentiments. Something in fact many things about it did not seem to fit...the venue, the story the stage. It all seemed quite incongruous and at times hard to watch. In successful Theatre, tghere is an almost unsaid suspension of reality as you watch the story unfold upon the stage. I had no such feeling and in fact felt empathetic towards cast and crew as they seemed to try to make something work that was just not going to work.

As far as Siegfried comments. He has a point I imagine. But then again Style is not really a 'news' paper in the NY Timesy Wash Post variety. I think Billy is pulling your collective legs...handball business?

Andrew Hamm said...

Looking forward to seeing the show on Sunday afternoon!