(what would Don Hall do?)
How to respond to this...
Hey New England Theatre Producery Types out there: I have a really pressing question to ask you:can you stop making shit? Boston has thousands of fringe theatre companies out there, all with the same mission statement plastered boldly on the cover pages of their programs - to get us wee ones (65 and under)
into the theater. The problem is, we want theater that is relevant or at least entertaining. Not stuff that's so "avante garde" that it is actually meaningless or stuff that's too artsy to hold any water. And yet the shit keeps pouring out.
It goes on, and people are weighing in on the comments. I am going to say something that may be slightly controversial, but here it goes... this is refreshing.
Now, people have said I am wrong for giving Ms. Sherer any credit for her foul-mouthed reviews. ( She liberally peppers the f-bomb and s-bomb into her missives. )
Here is the thing though, this reviewer is receiving our marketing, reading our mission statements and going into the shows with expectations as high as we are making them. And I believe that she is trying to channel the actual, off-the-street audience member who may find themselves wandering into the BCA or the Devenaugh, or the Actors Workshop because they saw a flier or an ad. This is not neccessarily a bad thing for the theatre scene to have.
Would I want her to attend one of my shows? Good question. I guess because I am on a hiatus from producting anything right now it is easier for me to sit back and delude myself into thinking I would welcome it. "Bring it on!"-- so to speak. An the other hand, I wonder what Mr. Don Hall, the Angry Guy In Chicago would do. He more than likely would bar her from entering the theatre.
I would see his point, since the more experienced producer side of me knows from reading her reviews that she may be the type of critic who could haul off on you because she got no chicken in her pad thai before the show, or her umbrella broke in downpour that afternoon.
Somebody, (in talking about Ms. Sherer to me,) mentioned the Tricia Olszewski imbroglio in which a stringer theatre critic, who had a habit of consistently trashing productions, made comments on her personal blog that would indicate that she didn't like theatre in general. Olszewski was then pretty much forced to give up her post after local theatre producers vocally protested to the paper. This post from theatreboy is far more detailed.
Understandably, many critics, including our own Bill Marx, saw a sort of chilling effect in this event. After all, should theatre producers be able to force out a critic? My feelings, after reading many accounts (which included statements from Olszewski) were that Olszewski really didn't like theatre, and when pressed by her editors, she copped to that fact.
This isn't the case here, although I would say that Ms. Sherer has demonstrated that she has incredibly low tolerance and even hostility to avante garde work. But then again, this is the attitude of 98% of the theatre going public.
And I would agree that she should really dial down her outrage about shows she hasn't yet seen. It isn't civil, fair, or constructive.
That type of rhetoric would only be permissable in a column that is announcing her departure.