Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh Boy - This Again

Don Hall points us to an outrageous case of a critic leaving a play at intermission, and then, astonishingly, the critic publishes a review without mentioning that fact.

Even stranger, the way the editor and the reviewer decided to correct the problem was to have the reviewer ad a postscript in the comments section of the review:

I need to add as a postscript that I was not able to attend all of this performance; unfortunately, this review is based on the first act alone and I apologize for presenting it otherwise. Obviously it’s impossible for me to comment on the second half, and I regret having relied on friends’ testimonies about the second half without being explicit about it.

As Don says:

And when you were discovered, instead of UPDATING THE REVIEW ITSELF, you and your editor decided to declare the review as horseshit in the COMMENTS SECTION???

This ain't print, boys and girls. HTML is incredibly easy to revise. How about adding a disclaimer in red type just before the first sentence:

Once again, for review, and discussion:

1. If you are an audience member who has paid for a ticket to a live performance, you have every right to leave at intermission, and you shouldn't even feel the least bit guilty about it. We all have a hard expiration date on this planet and the tricky part is that we aren't ever allowed to see what it is. We only know that in most cases it is sooner than we would like. So you needn't feel bad about choosing to exit a situation that eats up that valuable time.

2. If you have received a complimentary ticket to see something, you should feel an obligation to stay, even if you are having a bad time. It is good form, and it speaks to generosity, gratitude and other intangibles that will, in the end, help enrich your short time here on earth. (Remember, that expiration date.)
*There may be exceptions to this rule in the case of excruciating experiences.

3. If your job or professional assignment is to review a production, you need to stay. This is about discipline, this is about penance, this is about the hard part of your job. What? You can't take it? There's no crying in baseball, and when a professional quarterback is getting beat 57-10 he can't just leave the field with 5 minutes left and keep his job. And just think how much more righteous indignation you can pour into your bad review if you waited through till the end.

If it helps, try some mantras that might be appropriate: "What doesn't kill us, only makes us stronger!" "Pain is just weakness leaving the body."


Thomas Garvey said...

Yes, but look at it this way - the critic may have given the show a BETTER review than he would have if he'd actually suffered through the whole thing! ;-)

Perhaps my most embarrassing moment as a critic came during a performance of a show at Stoneham a few years back. Minutes after the curtain rose, I knew something was wrong with the Italian dinner I'd eaten down the street. I also realized with horror that there was NO INTERMISSION. After maybe twenty more minutes, I had to get up, step over people in the row, etc., and stagger out to the restroom in the lobby, where I threw up loudly for a few minutes. Then I had to return to my seat, trying to look like nothing was wrong - or at least that it wasn't the performance that had nauseated me! As I recall, I gave it a very nice review.

Novel said...

And too, we had the case where the reviewer condemned our show BEFORE seeing it, based on our boilerplate tag lines.