Monday, August 20, 2012

Critical Conversations

Last week was a fabulous rarity in my recent history: I saw three different productions in a single week. After “All Fall Down” at the Shop, “Joe Jackson’s Night and Day” at Triangle Players, I dragged a pal to “In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play” that Cadence opened on Friday. It’s hard to believe that, in the years before the number of kids in my house doubled from 2 to 4, I actually used to do that kind of thing fairly regularly. Dang, those were the days.

I’ll write up my thoughts on “Next Room” sometime soon (Mr. Miller voices a mixed opinion of the production in the T-D review from Sunday) but I’ve been pretty preoccupied with a couple of fascinating conversations I’ve been having. One is on Facebook about criticism in general and in Richmond specifically thanks to the posting of this article in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. The other is an exchange I’ve had with Andrew Hamm about JJND that started in this space and continued over on Andrew’s blog.
I really relish these kinds of conversations. So often, criticism is a one-way street. I see a show and offer my opinion – either in print or on this blog – and that’s where the conversation ends. Sure, the occasional hot-button topic – texting! – will generate some back-n-forth but the kinds of issues that local theater professionals deal with every day don’t generate much interest, or at least don’t seem to. Or maybe theater professionals just want to talk to others in the biz about them and don’t really care to share their thoughts here. Understandable but disappointing to me.

So I’ve been eating up thoughts offered by Mr. Hamm, Adrian Rieder and ‘Rick Gray in these convos. And I hope to be able to contribute more myself soon. But others should feel free to join in. The more the merrier, yes?

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