Wednesday, 29 February 2012

The Smell of Dead Mums has wafted away...Lulu takes the spotlight

From one thing to the next.  The workshop of my play "The Smell of Dead Mums" is over, with tumultuous beginnings and middles but a spectacular end.  Many bruises (literally all over my legs) to show for it and great feedback, I know exactly where to take the play now.
But of course, the Theatre won't let me alone, and I'm right back on the horse with Lulu: A Monster Tragedy by Frank Wedekind, German expressionist extraordinaire, translated by theatre artists fabulaire Edward and Elizabeth Bond.  This is, as my director has put it, a satirical look at the outcome of unfettered capitalism.  As Edward puts it  "Money plus Sex = Violence".  And that gives us Wedekind's Jack the Ripper.  A consummer as well as a capitalist, taking and selling (at the ultimate expense of others) objectified female sexuality.  As an object.  Disgusting, but that's where we are today.  A very timely piece that I am very excited to start work on.  I need a little breather from my own writing and am so glad it's THIS!!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

A little harsh goes a long way

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.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

New and improve (ing)

This is my new blog.  I had so much fun writing for MTC's Shawfest that I just have to keep going.
This, right now, is a test.  I'm totally new to blogging and especially naive about technological advances.  That sounds slightly as though technology is making advances on me, and maybe that's what I mean, I am beginning to respond to it.  Maybe it'll succeed.  We shall see, in the meantime I will come up with something more interesting to read.  Maybe there will be more theatre reviews that I can criticize.  Not that there hasn't been already, just this past week I read a review for "The Fighting Days" at MTC which actually read like a plot summary (big surprise). But on top of that, there was no critical analysis to be found in the least, yet it still took up half the page.  The amount of "ink" wasted on this review was appalling.  So many words, so little said.  I thought it was a good production.  I'm not a fan of the play, not to say the subject matter isn't important, I thought it was a good idea, but the play, I don't think, is a very dramatic play.  There, I said it!  My opinion everyone,
'til next time