Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Herald Opens Up To the World Wide Web

The Herald allows comments on their articles and reviews, and for the longest time nobody really took them up on it.

Lately there has been a little more activity. For instance, there is a little review of How Shakespeare Won the West attached to Jenna Scherer's review of the same production.

And a Herals pre-show piece about The T Plays, which Mill 6 will be putting on this weekend has a concise comment from a Mr. or Mrs. VoxPopuli:

Sounds complicated, confusing, expensive and a waste of time - just
like the T - perfect!! Can't wait to see it

The Globe is getting more into the blogging game with other departments and you can comment on Geoff Edgers' Exhibitionist blog, but the reviews themselves are still off limits. I can only assume that the Globe will eventually add a Performing Arts Weblog or a Theater Blog.

Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune runs The Theater Loop weblog, which has played host to some memorable controversies and discussions about everything from Awards to Equity to theater real estate. You can also watch video scenes from current running productions. True, most posts are simply Jones' regular reviews and features, but at least they are in the swing of things.

The Guardian in London runs an arts blog in which critics, artistic directors, playwrights, actors and many more have contributed posts. Most recently, Theresa Rebeck posted about how women playwrights were being underrepresented on Broadway. This post started a flurry of response and activity across the internet.


Thomas Garvey said...

Note Ms. Rebeck doesn't cite even a single play by a woman playwright that she felt deserved a Broadway production but didn't get one. Her argument is purely political. Judging from what I've seen of her work, it would be hard to pretend that she herself has been slighted - if anything, she's overproduced. Her position is a strange one, sans any examples at all - it's an accusation of sexism, from an inherently sexist position. Of course Caryl Churchill has a legitimate beef with the American stage. Theresa Rebeck doesn't. I'm just sayin'.

Art said...

Leonard Jacobs on The Clyde Fitch Report actually goes a step further and gently takes Rebeck to task on what he perceives as a thinly veiled jab at gay playwrights.

Thomas Garvey said...

Ah, so now it's the girls vs. the girly-men! Nothing like a good cat-fight between show girls and show queens, is there.

Of course as every one knows I hate women and all, but I'm going to put my flaming misogyny aside for a moment and ponder this question on its merits! Do I . . . [thinking very hard, with my penis, of course] . . . want to see . . . Theresa Rebeck and Sarah Ruhl on Broadway?

No way! Case closed.

Seriously, though, I wish there were another great female playwright out there besides Churchill. And maybe there is! And maybe political pressure from the Dramatists Guild (which Rebeck advocates) could help find her!

But I worry more, right now, about reverse sexism, and how it's clogging the stage with the smart-but-not-art machinations of Rebeck and Ruhl (who are, of course, routinely applauded by our dimly feminist reviewing brigade in the Boston dead-tree media). To me, "feminism" has become just another mode of pressuring producers to put up mediocre work, right along side "he taught playwriting at Yale" and "he wrote for HBO." It would be nice, of course, if dramatic talent matched up neatly to utopian political goals. But it doesn't.

Now would someone please produce more Caryl Churchill?

BJ said...

But doesn't she have a point that something's weird about the numbers? Why is there such a gender divide? I think it's a good question to ask.

Thomas Garvey said...

But Rebeck is making an accusation, not asking a question. I, too, wonder why so few women have proven themselves as playwrights, especially when so many have been hailed as great novelists. As a woman, Rebeck has the political freedom to ponder this question openly; as a man, I don't. But whatever the reason, I doubt it's because producers are discriminating against women, if only because three of the most celebrated female playwrights - Sarah Ruhl, Suzan Lori-Parks, and Rebeck herself - aren't actually all that good. I suppose sexist producers could be suppressing the great female writers, and producing Rebeck instead - but is that really the point she's trying to make? I don't think so.