Friday, April 26, 2013

Post - Depression

I thought I would feel better after I got yesterdays post off my chest and wrote it down.  Obviously something about that review struck a nerve and it opened up a wound I thought had healed. I've had that bile bottled up inside for so long, it has been making me sick. It finally hit critical mass. At times like that you think throwing up will make you feel better.  It doesn't really,  cause you still have a bad taste in your mouth.  That is where I am today. Bad taste.
I thought about taking the post down but as we all know that doesn't do anything but eliminate it locally.  It is still out there. Besides, it would be disingenuous to deny what are truly my opinions and feelings. I am not trying to hide who I am and what I think about anything.
Out of Bounds! 
I guess I was not looking hard enough for something better to write about.
The real problem between reviewers and actors is the inability of an actor to separate his product from his person.  A salesman can talk about his product as an object; he sells licorice for example. Some people like licorice others don't. It has nothing to do with the salesman. You could love the salesman and have a very strong dislike for licorice. I suppose a reviewer could write a very negative opinion about licorice, and a licorice salesman would have no feeling toward it one way or the other.
Not so with theatrical reviews and critics.  The product they are talking about is personal. You are the product and it becomes very difficult to see that the opinion is about what you're selling not you personally. I know I can't separate me from my show, emotionally, that is why I stopped reading reviews. They just became too upsetting.
I was rough on Mr. Mc yesterday, and he may understand that I was reviewing his "product" not his "person" but I am still having trouble with it. If he were to read it and become upset by it... well that would not make me feel better. Besides when I agreed to contribute these blogs to I said I was not going to engage in that sort of rhetoric. Unfortunately a simple review in the LA Times blinded me to that elevated thinking.  Well, consider this a retraction or rededication or just a new emphasis on the mission statement. I want to write about things that make me feel better than the stuff I wrote yesterday. 
I know one thing for sure, I do not want to be theatre critic for the Los Angeles Times. Perhaps it is impossible to work in a coal mine without getting dirty, and either way no one is forcing me to read anyone's work.  Hell, I might not even read this post.
As you were,


P. Grecian said...

I was a theatre critic for sixteen years on the local paper (I quit because I just coldn't take it anymore). Since I make my living in the field, it was a tough job, because I know how much heart and soul goes into any production.
I hadn't asked for the job. The newspaper came to me and asked. I thought, "Oh boy! I get to see all the shows in the market for free and get paid, too!" Unfortunately, the downside of that is, "Oh hell, I HAVE to see ALL the shows in the market and don't get paid nearly enough!"
I always tried to be kind to the actors in community theatre, who were working for love rather than money. I did not praise an actor in spite of a bad performance ... but I didn't humiliate an actor for one, either. With the road shows, I could be a bit more forthcoming because money was changing hands...but I always remembered that the actors were making a living...and it was someone else who cast an actor in a role that was, perhaps, not a good fit. The readership could read my subtext and know whether they should spend the money on tickets. There was no need to be snarky or mean-spirited. Too many theatre critics are full of themselves, and don't remember (or don't care) that they are dealing with people whose feelings may be hurt. THAT is the most important thing. One can be honest with the readership (to whom one owes first allegiance), without being cruel to the artists (to whom one owes second allegiance). I've been on both sides of bad reviews. The gentleman you speak of appears not to be a very good critic. Sorry, Jay, this got too long. I got all passionate 'n' stuff.

Cheryl said...

Both your posts yesterday and today (and P. Grecian's comment) are full of a lot of heart and soul, Jay. I always feel sad when I read a critic who is harsh for no other apparent reason than being harsh (and, as you say, proving how perfect and knowledgable they are!). On the other hand, you can really tell when you are reading a critic who respects the theatre and all the artists involved in a production.