Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Adam Rapp says

I appreciate good criticism and I think it’s really important. I don’t like it when it’s consumer advocacy, like how you should spend your $60. Great criticism is a kind of literature. I’ve written some criticism, and I really enjoy it because I think it’s important for people to know that theatre is vital. Criticism is really unevenly distributed in this town. Obviously the power of the Times is discouraging. It’s killing new plays, demolishing one after another. Charles Isherwood and Ben Brantley have a lot of power. I would like to think that Michael Feingold, Jeremy McCarter, David Cote and people who are really interested in new work would have an equal distribution of power. But we’re so governed by the Times. Everyone is so afraid to talk about it, which is what I hate. Now that I’ve been demolished by them, I’m not going to be afraid to talk about it.


meeegan said...

I wonder. Isn't vitality self-evident? If you have to TELL people that a thing is vital, doesn't that suggest that the thing is not, in fact, vital -- or the people who need it would already know that?

Adam said...

Hi Meegan,

Thanks for the note. I don't mean to speak for Mr. Rapp but I think he means that shows that have a certain energy, wit or intelligence are often dismissed as containing nothing worthwhile. So the vitality that you or i would see when we go to the show is not represented in a review of the play.

Ruben Carbajal said...

After struggling with the concept of criticism this week (mostly meditating on the horrible power of people like Isherwood) I had the idea of starting a campaign to ignore critics. Get as many people as you can to agree not to read any criticism for a year. It would mostly be a publicity stunt, but if you really want to scare the hell out of people in the media-- the best way is to ignore them. Wouldn't it be great if audiences just went back to trusting their own instincts, word of mouth, and just plain taking a chance on something new? I don't think all criticism is bad, and it can be instructive and illuminating. The problem is, almost none of it is. It is often a leech feeding on culture. Often, it is a destructive force. NY critics in particular should make it their mission to find and champion small works that would otherwise go unrecognized. What they wind up doing is savaging tiny off-off plays that will disappear forever in a week's time anyway. (Sorry for the rant)