Thursday, June 19, 2008

should critics read plays before seeing them?

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/theatre/2008/06/to_wiesbaden_for_the_neue.html thanks to Meeegan for this link.

8 comments:

mbh said...

Well I suppose that's better than the situation here where the local critic was surprised to find out you can actually buy scripts to read in any bookstore (where did he think plays came from) OR was embarrassed when I corrected him that the local Gilbert and Sullivan Society could never do a new work by the authors because they were dead (and had been for a few decades).

Mike said...

That's an easy one.

The answer is no.

Malachy Walsh said...

People in the theatre hardly know how to read new plays. And considering how poorly most critics comprehend anything new, well... not a good idea.

Adam said...

I think it's important for critics to be able to separate who does what. Teh often don't know what was a directing choice and what was an acting choice and the playwright gets the brunt of any bad review. i don't think it's such a bad idea. At least if they read it then they have an idea of what the play is going in and then can compare that against what they actually see and see if it's better or worse. Of course there is something about being surprised by having no preconceptions whatsoever. But I don't see how it could possibly be bad for a critic to see what the play actually is before deciding what it is.

Heather said...

Interesting, but to make my point a little less stridently - I don't think most people know what a play is on the page. Or when they read it.

I've found time again that work is critiqued on paper without any real understanding of the visual information the script asks for both directly and indirectly.

I do wish there was a way to get people to see what is a directoral choice vs a literary choice, but it they can't figger it out on a stage, I have doubts about what they can make out from the page.

I think some critics would also find themselves in the weird position of explaining why a play read so badly at home and played so well at the theatre. And vice-versa.

I think there's a lot more to say on this idea - both ways - and I"m interested in hearing from others.

Adam said...

Well, I think too many critics don't know much about theater and need to immerse themselves and figure out why things work one place and not another. Too many reviews are too singleminded (black or white) and you get the idea that they don't really understand what happens in the process of people rehearsing and performing plays. I also think they should have doen some acting and directing and writing, instead of always being in the audience to truly understand what the theater monster is.

Adam said...

wait. Heather, are you Malachy?

Malachy Walsh said...

Yes, I'm Malachy.

I was using H's computer and it automatically signed me in as her and well... sorry for the confusion.