Thursday, November 04, 2010


Bill Marx pounces on the Globe Theatre section, using Don Acouin's review of Yale Rep's production of A Delicate Balance as a springboard:

Anyone who has seen these or other first-rate Albee productions will scoff at Aucoin’s generalization that “no one comes to an Edward Albee play looking for uplift …” Well, I do — illumination and vision are exhilarating — I suspect others do as well. Granted, you don’t go to Albee for “fun,” the fashionable requirement for theater these days — supposedly smart, but that is negotiable.

I could go on, but there is not much analysis in the piece — most of the review is plot, aside from adjectives tossed like bones at the performers and plenty of bad writing (“unhinged surreality” — do you know of any sane surreality?)

I had thought that Aucoin was a safe placeholder for the Globe – the serious, respectable critics are retained for the arts that pull in advertising and media attention, such as movies and classical music, while for theater, dance, jazz, etc., the equivalent of the bedazzled cub reporter, kicked up from the ink-stained ranks, will do, supplying blurbs and huzzahs as in the olde days. The goal is to do no harm, keep the box offices humming.

There's more.

1 comment:

Thomas Garvey said...

Marx always seems to be waking up to realities a year or two after everybody else does, doesn't he. Since "Balance" really rises and falls on the quality of an interlocking ensemble, I'm not surprised that the Yale Rep version is weak (Edward Herrmann just seems wrong for Tobias); nor am I surprised that weakness made the play inscrutable to Aucoin (especially if his only earlier exposure to it is the misbegotten film version). It's true that Aucoin is no better than Louise Kennedy was, and is in fact arguably worse (he's certainly less of a prose stylist), but since he doesn't overreact simplistically when his political buttons are pushed, it's harder to pin things on him.

I think MY reaction to that review was - WHY, exactly, is the Boston Globe reviewing the Yale Rep, when so many local companies are screaming for some media attention? And my deeper reaction to Marx's rant is - physician, heal thyself! Does Marx believe the reviewers covering theatre at the Arts Fuse are better than Aucoin? Sorry, but I think not.