Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Very Unpromising Material"

And here's all you need to know about critics and reviews. (via)

From a 1955 review of Beckett's "Waiting For Godot:"
The play, if about anything is ostensibly about two tramps who spend the two acts, two evenings long, under a tree on a bit of waste ground “waiting for Godot.”
Click the link above to dangerous minds to read the review in its entirety, but pretty much all you need to know is that you've heard of Samuel Beckett, and you've never heard of Guardian reviewer Phillip Hope-Wallace.

Having been on both sides of this divide, reviewer and reviewed (at least, reviewed as an actor; I haven't had any of my plays staged yet, but looking to get one up for a staged reading this spring) I can tell you it is a fuck of a lot harder to create a show than it is to create a review. Not that what reviewers do is without value; not that they (we) don't put a lot of thought, sweat and time into creating a good, honest review. And certainly by putting our work out there, artists of all stripes are asking to be looked at, and thought about, and engaged with.

But I think there is a certain lack of humility in some reviewers, a lack of understanding where one's place in the food chain really is. I think a lot of reviewers could greatly benefit from being part of a show, from table read to closing night, just to get some perspective on what it really takes. If you're going to casually shit all over something, at least be aware of what it is you are beshitting, right? :-)

That said, here's some closing words from Mr. Hope-Wallace:
It is good to find that plays at once dubbed “incomprehensible and pretentious” can still get a staging.
Best of luck to him in his career, pointless, incomprehensible, and pretentious as it may be.


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