I thought about it, and I think I came off a little harsh in my last post. I should not have said "appalling", and as I understand very little about the newspaper business, I shouldn't criticize based on the amount of ink used on any particular story. It's like criticizing a play for the amount of words in the script, or the amount of money spent on the production.
I had to think about why I had such a visceral reaction though. I don't envy the job of a Theatre Reviewer. How wonderful and terrible! To absorb theatre and think about it to the degree that you have to impart what you saw (re - view it as they say) and also to point a spotlight on it's various highs and lows. To give the reader an idea of what they will be in for without getting personal. In this town, our community is so tight, I know it is difficult to say anything with total unbiased objectivity.
Is there a difference between a Theatre Reviewer and a Theatre Critic? Does one just remember what they viewed and report upon it, and does the other simply criticize what they saw with some context? Is that the same thing?
Back to my reaction: I think I was still reeling at a comment made during Winnipeg's Shawfest after a reader posted a comment criticizing a review for being only a plot summary. The reviewer very boldly posted a comment back that a longer review had been written (which included some criticisms of the production) and that sometimes reviews have to be truncated etc... and "any other newspaper in the country would not use as much ink on a local festival" I paraphrase, this is not a direct quote, but we can grasp the sentiment. We should be so lucky to have reviewers out to our show, and that the local newspaper is gracing us with the privilege of having our art reviewed and "starred" for the public. I told this to a friend of mine and she, being a theatre professional who travels across Canada and beyond to festivals, said that this is not true. She's seen newspapers devote much ink to local arts festivals. Often. Hmm.
What happens now? I guess we have to change the way the newspaper sees us as a local theatre community: Something worthy of ink. I think we can all do this together, reviewers and artists. If you keep writing about us, we will keep producing stuff to write about. I hope that's how that works. We can at least keep each other alive for awhile longer.
I know! It's sounds sad, but no worries, live theatre can never die. It's an oxymoron.