Tuesday, March 20, 2007

At It Again

Now, I am all for world premieres, and I am all for critics and reviewers praising companies for their daring in presenting them . But Jenna Scherer of the Weekly Dig is starting to drive me nuts with the broad strokes with which she paints the theatre scene.

"But I have to give Company One props for presenting a World Premiere, it is something most boston troupes wouldn't dare to attempt."

I love Company One, and I always think there should be more world premieres...but (in the words of Rob Cordry on the Daily Show,) Come On!

Even the Huntington Theatre Company, a major regional theatre, presents at least one World Premiere a year. And there are small companies in Boston who do nothing but World Premieres

In the next month 11:11 , Up You Mighty Race and Theatre Offensive are just a few local companies presenting world premieres.

On a comment on this blog, Jenna indicated that she needs to make bold statements while she is learning the scene here. There is nothing wrong with making bold statements, you just have to know that you are making one when you do.

In order to praise Company One, you don't have kick the rest of the scene in the crotch.


Thomas Garvey said...

I think you're misinterpreting what Jenna Sherer is doing. She's certainly not stupid enough to imagine (despite all the press releases she receives) that few Boston theatres do world premieres. But her audience imagines that's the case - and in the end, like all the print critics, she is in the business of flattering their world view. Thus Louise Kennedy coos about "warm, wise women" and crusades against racism in the Globe, while Carolyn Clay tries her best to rock on with the Dresden Dolls in the Phoenix (even though she's been reviewing theater for longer than they've been alive). And so Sherer promotes the fiction to the rude, wired beasts who read the Dig that the Boston theatre scene is behind the times, calcified, etc., etc. - in short, just like Mom and Dad! This has nothing to do with analysis of the piece in question, or any underlying connection with reality. It's roughly, instead, the equivalent of Fox News on the Bush administration - feeding the audience its identity myth as skillfully as possible. Sherer's not slipping up; she's simply doing her job.

Anonymous said...

The difference, though, is that Sherer's slant seems to tip her into demonstrable innacuracies. Of course every reviewer has their own perspective, but most make an effort to get their facts straight.

Thomas Garvey said...

Well, of course you're right - the Globe and the Phoenix create flattering, misleading impressions; Sherer just blows through the facts. You're also quite right to call her on it - my quibble was only with your implied rationale for her behavior. She says she's finding her way, but I think she knows exactly what she's doing.

YS said...

Hi Thomas,

Just so you know, Anon isn't me.

Your point is well taken. A reviewer writes for an audience.

That she is finding her way was her own defense of making a comment about how Boston is "finally" getting productions of Irish playwrights. As Will Stackman pointed out, at the time of her comment, aside from New York, you don't get much more Irish theatre this side of the Atlantic than here in Boston.

Going to Anon's comment:

A critic might say, "finally a play that deals with...." And then there is always going to be somebody who says, "no, there was that little play in the garage in Brookline.." (In fact, usually annoying bloggers like myself fill that role.)

I fully understand that a reviewer of critic is going to miss some things.

But as Anon says, she is quite astonishing in her assessments. Although, about ten years ago she may have been more on the money about World Premieres here in Boston.

Thomas Garvey said...

I think we all actually agree, whether we be identified or otherwise; we just differ on our assesments of Sherer's culpability.

Perhaps a parlor game is in order - what will Jenna Sherer's next oracular pronouncement be?

Dare we hope for:

"Kudos to the Huntington Theatre, however, for its ten-day, ten-play August Wilson cycle, as this company has never produced this great playwright before . . ."

"I have to say it was nice to see Thomas Derrah, Karen MacDonald and Remo Airaldi finally get some stage time at the ART . . ."

"I give props to Naked Boys Singing, though, since few "gay plays" have the balls to feature male nudity . . ."

Jenna said...

Dudes: my last name has a C in it.

All My Love,
Jenna Scherer

YS said...

Thanks Jenna,

It's one of those things I keep mistyping, even though I know better.

I will correct it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jenna, sorry I perpetuated the misspelling. BTW I enjoyed your review of Six Rounds overall; the preemie bit was apt.

Thomas Garvey said...

Suddenly she's all about accuracy?