Friday, January 08, 2010

And... A Critic's Take on the TDF Report?

Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune reviews TDF's Outrageous Fortune - the just published book that is the starting point for many posts in the theatrosphere lately.

He basically sees it as an expensive whine:

Take this outrageous passage: “A playwright describes what he sees: ‘Every time I go to the Goodman Theatre, that audience is all over 60 and it's all white.'”

The Goodman audience could use more youth and racial diversity. No question. But that playwright is describing what he thinks he sees. Nothing is served by presenting such patently inaccurate and reductive anecdotes as fact (as distinct, say, from accurately surveying the Goodman's audience demographics). I've been to the Goodman many, many times. I've never sat in an audience all over 60 and all white. It is a stereotype.

If playwrights don't like audiences, they surely don't like critics, especially those with the audacity to clearly separate plays that they think their readers might enjoy from those that they think they will not. “Critics see their role as of consumer reporters giving thumbs up or thumbs down to something,” goes one complaint, “instead of thinking crucially about the strengths and weaknesses of a play, or the future of the particular writer, even in the face of imperfection.”

There is no mention that such imperfections may also be occurring in the face of a $50 (or more) ticket price. And three hours of your life. And — oh, never mind.

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