Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Theatre blogosphere dead; no services planned | Superfluities Redux:

“I actually think one of the reasons why the theatrosphere essentially died is that things got better on our big issue (new play development),” someone wrote on a Twitter account yesterday, “and then crazy trolls started taking up a lot of the oxygen.” Now among the other things that are dead (politics, theatre, the book, newspapers), we have the theatre blogosphere. Is it time to write its obituary after all?

I do not mention the name of the person who wrote this because Twitter and Facebook, unlike the blogosphere, are essentially private. People who use these social media can now control who sees their tweets, status updates, and what have you, and unlike the blogs living on the World Wide Web membership is required. But if, as I maintain, the theatre blogosphere is not at all dead, it’s because Twitter and Facebook are no substitutes for it. The theatre has always had self-promotion and gossip as two of its most robust extracurricular activities, and Facebook and Twitter are excellent for these. But what appears under the heading of drama criticism in the mainstream media is still no substitute for the more contemplative and theoretical kinds of drama and theatre criticism necessary to the health of the form itself.

New play development in the United States has been a theme of many blogs in the past, as well as this one, but it was never “The Big Issue” to the exclusion of others. The theatre blogosphere has investigated the same issues as drama criticism always has, to a depth rarely found in the mainstream media these days. It was this — the need for an outlet for extended critical expression of the art form — that led to the rise of the medium, and that need remains.