It was only a few weeks ago that I posted about the question of loyalty to published stage directions.
The subject was interesting enough to attract a number of comments to the post.
With this fresh in my mind, I happened upon Brendan Kiley's review of Seattle Repertory Theatre's production of John Logan's Red.
It is not often that stage directions are quoted in a review, but neither is it uncommon, especially for a well-known play. But Kiley, in just a couple of sentences, seems to encapsulate a large part of the argument about the obligation a director, or an actor, has to the playwright's written instructions:
Some moments painfully flatten Red's characters, as when Ken, an orphan, recounts the death of his parents. He kneels downstage and speaks his painful childhood memory with the hot, false anguish of television melodrama. The fault lies partly with the playwright, whose direction to Ken at the beginning of the scene says "reliving it." The rest of the fault lies with director Richard E. T. White for not ignoring the playwright.
This brings up another interesting dimension to the discussion. Namely, to what extent is the critic/reviewer obligated to referee this tug-of-war between director and playwright?