Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Welcome to the Future - No Roadmaps Available

Tony Adams at Jay Raskolinkov posts a clip of a very positive review of his company's production of Pirandello's Henry IV on the site.

Tony then reveals the following:

Here's the rub. Due to unforeseen circumstances, (a trip to the
emergency room) the critic was only able to see the first act. Which until now only The Wife and I, and the folks at centerstage know. So since it's a good review I could/should probably have kept shut.

The review still ran, even though the critic couldn't make the second
act. I've written before about that before. This case seems different. I don't know if it is better, but there are two differences. One, the critic had to take someone to the hospital, which is a pretty good reason to leave a show. Two, this was not a blogger free from an editorial board. As a part of the Sun-Times Media Group they have editors who, I'd assume, would have to okay anything being published. It it a unique case? (Or it is similar to Weiss' writing about partial shows a few years back.) Is it different? Or does it only seem different
because it was a good review and not a scathing one?

It has already run so there is little we can do about it.

Earlier in the week, I posted how Sinan Unel had set up a blog to discuss the disconnect between his play and a bad review he had received.

Here Tony Adams is using his internet voice to explain a disconnect in a good review he received.

The Internet, with regards to cultural journalism is definitely going to be an interesting world.


Thomas Garvey said...

It's interesting is that Adams does as a matter of course what many people here in Boston seem to find very controversial - he openly criticizes theatre critics (for a while he even had a "critiquing the critics" feature). To me, part of what's interesting about running a blog is the chance to talk about the critical response to a show as well as the show itself, but I've gotten no end of abuse because of that stance. What's sad about the Boston blogging scene (which seems to be sagging a bit these days) is that several blogs, such as the Exhibitionist and HubArts, not only eschew this aspect of blogging, but actually play up to the print media (or praise incessantly blogs like Terry Teachout's or Alex Ross's, which are basically adjuncts to their print work). To me, that's kind of a betrayal of what blogging is all about.

Art said...

When I think about it, my blog started as basically an outlet to express the disconnects I saw in the coverages and criticism of print media.

I would have thought more boston blogs would have started by now.

The Print Media hasn't quite caught on to what blogging is about yet.

Actually, Larry's Theatermirror was a blog before blogs.

People would send in reviews, others would write in letters to debate the reviews or discuss a bad review in the Globe, etc.

I am so excited when I see somebody like Mr. Word on the Street pop up. Or Boston Theatre is Alive.

They seem short lived though.

Tony Adams said...

Hey Art, one note. That review wasn't from the Chicago Reader, it was from, an online site affiliated with the Sun-Times.

Thomas, yeah writing about critics can often seem controversial, and when I started there were quite a few scratching their heads. But I think of critics more as peers than on some untouchable plain. I also have cordial conversations with most critics. (I wrote about one notable exception a while back.)

I think a strict distance between artist and critic can be bad for both. And I've talked to critics who feel the same way. I don't know how the Boston scene is now (my wife is a native New Englander--but it's been a while since her days at Salem State.) Over here at least, it seems silly to have a pseudo-separation. Because it's not uncommon to run into critics outside of theatres.

So, I try to write about the good and bad parts of both, in a (perhaps quixotic) means of trying to foster dialogue between both sides.

Art said...

Thanks for the note.

I made the correction.

Boston's critical landscape has shifted quite a bit over the last several years.

As far as the dialogue goes, we are inching closer to an open discussion, but it is slow.

Thomas Garvey and I started a debate over his review of Love Lies Bleeding that drew in playwrights and theatre artists.

It is encouraging to see people like Todd Williams at the Huntington, Dan (a fringe director,) and Robert Bonotto,(one of Boston's best actors,) commenting and making observations.