Why some people *should* be theatre critics


[The title of this post references this earlier post]

Actors hate critics. I was at a table with some actors following a recent performance, and when they found out I wrote reviews, they all moaned and rolled their eyes in unison. I felt all dirty and lame.

But then I told them that my primary goal in going into a show is to root for the actors and remain objective. They all liked that. After all, I loathe critics that have an agenda, or want the review to function as a means to showcase their smarts. It’s irritating and tiresome.

My friend and recently appointed Phoenix-based theatre critic perfectly captures what I think all reviews and reviewers should strive for. In her recent review of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World (a show I saw last year in Chicago and reviewed here), she points out her well-reasoned criticisms of this youth theater production while supporting these growing artists.

But this is youth theatre. Its very purpose is for the young to gain the experience that helps them to grow as artists. There is a nurturing, family atmosphere at Spotlight. The theater is a small, “black-box” style auditorium, and one gets the sense that many in the audience are family and friends who are also involved in the production in various ways. There is a collaborative sense of a common goal, that the adults and youth alike are there to grow together through the creation of theatre.

So often theatre is associated with competition. It is a “real world” experience to learn that auditioners can fail, sometimes again and again. But what about educating the young who have an interest in performing, and might need the training and encouragement to come into their own? While competition has its place, it warms the heart to see that Spotlight provides a safe place for the young to begin stretching their artistic wings.

[Full review here.]

Isn’t that lovely?

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