Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More notices, more posts

For those who are interested in what a critic might have to say, Mary Burruss has a review of "Boleros for the Disenchanted" in this week's Style and John Porter has made his opinion of "Souvenir" available on his blog. Of course, there are some people who are still holding their breath, squeezing their eyes tight, and hoping critics will just go away, like a commenter on Bruce's post related to Julinda Lewis on the Barksdale Blog.

I like the assertion the commenter makes that he/she just doesn't see the PURPOSE of critics. The funny thing is that publications still seem to see the purpose for them because they continue to pay us for our opinion. Another funny thing is that, while some people apparently don't value critics at all, others chastise the Times-Dispatch for not caring enough about the arts to hire a full-time, "qualified" critic. But, for the critic-haters, the best service the T-D (and Style and WCVE...) could do would be to fire all of their critics (or maybe kill them, as per Bruce's commenter) and just make more room for ad space. Heck, why not make the whole paper ads? I'd certainly pay for that paper! (not)

I also like the commenter's assertion that word-of-mouth is the "only truly accurate opinion." Hmmm... I sense a whiff of oxymoron around that one. There's the strictly definitional contradiction. But also, if I based my theater-going on word-of-mouth only, I'd see 10% of the shows I see. I've heard people -- often theater people -- rail against shows because of aspects of a production I didn't care about or didn't notice. I've heard others dismiss shows because they have the word "fuck" in them or because they involve unsavory things like, well, goat-fucking. You see, everyone's a critic. Some are just paid.


Anonymous said...

Theatre people who read theatre reviews get to know critics and each one's particular styles and perspectives. We have favorites - usually those who tend to like what we do. I think it's fair to assume theatre patrons who read reviews consistently develop the same sense. It's insulting to them to think they don't, actually. Remember, there are probably ticket buyers out there who go see everything Critic A DOESN'T like.

Respect for the critics, please. Come on theatre folks, we all love to read about ourselves, even if it hurts. Stop pretending you don't.

Anonymous said...

"Every man can exert such judgement as he has upon the works of others; and he whom nature has made weak, and idleness keeps ignorant, may yet support his vanity by the name of a critic."
-Samuel Johnson

Dave T said...

The way we respond to criticism pretty much depends on the way we respond to praise. If praise humbles us, then criticism will build us up. But if praise inflates us, then criticism will crush us; and both responses lead to our defeat. --Warren W. Wiersbe