Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Parabasis: Some Thoughts On Critics (2):

On the complete other end of the spectrum, you get what makes up a large amount of theatre reviewing-- the Dispassionate Adjudicator who delivers maxims about what theatre should or shouldn't be and how this or that play measures up to Platonic Ideals. This isolates the reviewer and protects their opinions to some extent... It's not them opining! It's the gods! They are merely measuring this play scientifically against certain criteria! But the problem is... this is horseshit. It's a symptom of our old fashioned art form that we remain mired in old fashioned ideas of art being objectively good or bad. The experience of a play is intensely personal. Ideally, reviewers should strive to acknowledge that. They aren't an audience surrogate. They don't speak for anyone but themselves. But they are highly seasoned experts (most theater reviewers I know easily go to 3-5 times the number of plays of theatre artists I know) and thus their opinion is worth reckoning with.