Joe Inscoe has written what I consider an extremely insightful and articulate comment in response to Bruce Miller’s recent post on “Shining City.” It’s an interesting piece of perspective from someone who’s played many places, has many years of experience, and who is a thoughtful, intelligent guy in addition to being a great actor. Worth checking out.
Speaking of insight, I was recently directed to Angela Lehman’s blog, The People’s Snob, specifically to check out her response to the conversation recently here and at the Barksdale Buzz about critics and their role in the artistic process.
I love everything about Angela’s post. In particular, I found two exceptional nuggets near the end:
1) “Of those 240,000 people, several thousand of them have never even heard of your organization/group/company.”
I am regularly amazed by how often I come in contact with people – longtime Richmond residents – who have either never heard of Barksdale or Theatre IV or only have a vague idea that they do kid’s shows or something. Barksdale/Theatre IV is among the biggest arts organizations in the state and some people here don’t know it exists. And Firehouse, Triangle Players or Henley Street? Forget it.
2) “Richmonders, if you ever think you've gotten a bad review, you need to stay the heck out of New York City”
Amen, sister. When I received a fairly infuriated email in response to my review of “Normal” at Stage 1 last spring, I looked up the New York Times review of the show (I offer the following NOT to drag up any old, bad feelings but to provide material support to Ms. Lehman’s statement).
Here are the most negative phrases from my review (read the whole thing here if you like):
“...Stage 1’s enthralling and frustrating new musical, ‘Normal.’”
“…too much of the story concerns the tribulations of the clichéd Freeman parents, with two excellent actors constricted by characters that never seem to reach an epiphany.”
I end the review with what I thought was a moderately supportive statement:
“'Normal’ has had only one other production off-Broadway and, while not perfect, it is the kind of challenging new show not usually seen in Richmond. That alone makes it worthy of a look.”
Here are the most negative phrases from the New York Times review:
“[‘Normal’] is both awful and not much fun.”
“[T]his ill-conceived show is such a grueling misfire that it puts the audience in the painful position of hoping that poor Polly will either croak or eat a Ho-Ho so we can all go home.”