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Monday, 27 October 2008

Confessions of a ... Theater Critic

Well, the guy's not a bad writer, and he certainly nails some things, not, as he seems to think, about community theatre per se, but about theatre in general, fringe theatre, semi-pro touring theater, dinner theater, academic theatre, store front theatre, straw hat theatre, and yes, even, (I know! shocking,) production contract/b'way theatre.
But what he misses, (and is it possible that it's because at some level he doesn't like it?,) is what makes it special.
It is live.
It is Live.
It is LIVE.
And that is what makes it worthwhile, or should, regardless of which side of the fourth wall you find yourself on.
And how much you paid or were paid to be there.
(Even the nights when, to quote a dear friend, it feels like draggin' a dead horse around the stage pretendin' it don't stink...

Just when I thought I had the job down, I ran out of professional theater to review — which, in Baltimore, doesn't take long. But I kept getting assignments from the City Paper, and I noticed some funny things happening. The ticket prices started plummeting. I didn't need to make reservations. The audiences were getting smaller....

My readership changed. I was no longer writing for potential theatergoers, people looking for my advice on whether to shell out for tickets. I wasn't even being read by the actors in the plays. I was being read by their best friends and close relatives. And they knew who I was. They knew where I lived. And they knew when I screwed up the names: Thanks for the review and glad you found the show enjoyable. Just a couple of little points...The "stern taskmaster" you describe is actually Florindo, played by Chris Hickle.

This is not a gig for the weak of heart. It's for the eternal optimist, the dead-end journalist who doesn't believe in dead ends. It's for the tolerant, the cheerful, the brave and gratuitously creative. It's a job for someone who doesn't have a lot to do on weekends.

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