April 20, 2014

A year of reviewing

My final review of a main stage show for Winnipeg's 2013/14 season will be up shortly at Spectator Tribune. It's been... interesting. I honestly don't know if I'll keep reviewing next year. I love going to see the shows and cobbling together my thoughts, but I suspect my reviews a) have zero box office impact and b) don't really prompt discussion, since the theatre community at-large isn't willing to publicly hash over shows for fear of the fallout (though I have had some great one-on-one exchanges).

On reflection, here's what I've learned... beyond the awkward price of honesty.
  • Reviews are subjective. I knew this before, but now my certainty is bone deep
  • Quickly casting ephemeral experiences into substantive words is taxing
  • Writing to sound smart is lame
  • Giving away plot points is theft - from the playwright and future audiences
  • I'm inexperienced. I always will be
  • Writing pans or praise is easy. Reviewing the vast majority of shows, which are neither turds or triumphs, is tricky
  • If your own writing isn't entertaining and filled with passion, you should turn in your pen

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4/21/2014

    I hope you keep reviewing. I very much enjoy reading your work. I don't think it's about having an impact on the box office; it's about providing insight and a thoughtful analysis from your own perspective. Though the theatre community may not discuss your reviews, you have to assume that audiences are. Have you read Michael Robbins' essay about arts criticism? It pretty much hits the nail on the head for me. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-01-17/features/chi-film-and-music-criticism-20140117_1_printers-row-journal-taste-last-tango