Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Fool's Request

JJisaFool requested that this post--originally placed as a response to Jose's lovely review of The Swan--be posted on my own blog, as he found it a worthy topic in and of itself. I brushed it up a little, but left it as is for the most part.

Question for artists, arts administrators and, perhaps most importantly, arts consumers who visit this neck of the woods . . .

To what degree does one pay attention to reviews?

In light of this and this (4th show down) (neither of which, by the way, I find particularly discouraging, because this show is decidedly odd, the choices at our fintertips equally so, and the whole effect could be off-putting, or at least an acquired taste; and even more, the fact that, despite not liking my vocal choices, the Times reviewer actually referred to me in print as "sexy", tickles me to no end), I find myself asking the usual questions about critics and reviews: Do fringe companies rely on reviews as the one form of financially equalizing marketing? Do critics and their opinions accurately or adequately represent the thoughts and interests of the audience at large?

Obviously, adjusting the show for critics (or anyone else) once open is as close to a sin as a good relativist like me is likely to acknowledge, regardless of the validity of the criticism. And I'm not inclined to take any of these reviews to heart (indeed, the criticisms in each review point fingers at different aspects of the play--one critic liked me and not the other guy, the other reviewer liked the other guy but took exception to my "dialect" [which, funny enough, is largely, though not entirely, dictated by the text], which indicates to me that they were troubled, and couldn't quite put their fingers on why . . . which sounds like success to me). I mean, as we've seen, the music and cinema I've appreciated over the years is often subject to misunderstanding by critics and audiences alike.

On the other hand, ignoring the critics is stock in trade for movies and CDs. Theatre . . . well, I don't know. I tend to find that theatre people fancy themselves more educated, more "academic", than fans of more "populist" art forms. As such, they may be more susceptible to "corruption" by a perceived critical consensus (not that these reviews represent much of a consensus). Or maybe not.

I wonder, too, if dismissing critics is tantamount to dismissing the audience, which brings us back around to the "fuck you" from the audience that a certain fool threw out there a number of weeks back.

I'm half questioning, half musing on the matter. Thoughts?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Spring Drizzle

The winter rain was getting me down. But I'm telling you, spring rain is different. You don't feel it chilling you to the bone and making you sick; rather, you smell it opening the doors to the green in the surrounding leaves, washing the film from the streets and sidewalks.

I think, sometimes, that my love of rain in the warm seasons stems from some warm lunch/tea/coffee sessions in my adolescence with Platonic female friends, some plucked wildflowers, John Cusack standing with a radio blaring Peter Gabriel in Say Anything, the sweeping romance of it, the way it makes colors leap out from the gray, the teasing, "let's-get-you-out-of-those-wet-clothes" crypto-eroticism. And then when the sun peaks out, and the emerging warmth mingles with the scattered wet . . . aaaah, I remember why I love this city.

Opening weekend for The Swan went well, but Beige has a more credible report on that than do I.

We're reviewed, if you scroll down to the fourth show, on this page; the review is tepid, and the writing is . . . well, I'll let you judge that for yourself. But it isn't a pan, it's marginally complimentary towards my efforts and it may pique some curiosity amongst those who read it.

As a liberal, I'm neither reflexively against taxes nor particularly trusting of the idea of a "simplified" (read: regressive) tax code, but for FUCK'S SAKE, does this have to be so complicated? WE DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!! Save your fucking audit flags for people who have a car and buy their clothes new, people! Jesus-monkey-fucking-Christ . . .

Oh, and I finally saw last week's LOST. Very fun, though I hope this doesn't portend a shaggy-dog ending to the whole thing.