Books Read in 2007
My Favorite Video Blogs
(for others, see Links page)
Cute Dog Video
Keith Olbermann on Libby Pardon
Britain's Got Talent - Dominic
Britain's Got Talent
Family Stories Vlog
New on My
That's My Answer
Have you answered
ON THE JOB TRAINING
16 July 2007
A local theatre company (I won't name you, but you know who you are, because some of you read my journal...and I'm going to say a couple of negative things) scheduled a production of The Who's Tommy back in my first year as a critic. I approached the production with fear and trepidation. I knew nothing about the show, I hated rock music, and I was so bored that I had trouble staying awake. When it came to write the review later, I thought honesty was the best policy and I confessed at the outset that I didn't like rock music and then gave the show a bad review based on production values.
I was called to task and the newspaper was called to task in a letter to the editor, where someone protested that the paper should never have sent someone who admittedly did not like the music.
It would be wonderful if newspapers had the specialist on musical comedy and the specialist on opera and the specialist on Shakespeare and the specialist on drama, and the specialist on dance, and the specialist on rock, but this is a small newspaper with a small budget and they only have me, so I had to do it all, whether I had any prior experience with the genre or not.
Well, many years have flowed by and I'm a bit more seasoned now. I've seen a lot of shows in a lot of genres and I feel I've grown as a reviewer. There are types of shows that I still don't like to review, and types of shows that I still don't feel comfortable reviewing (dance recitals, for example, since I know nothing of dance -- but the local choreographer knows this and says I'm the kind of audience she wants to attract anyway), but I think I'm much better now. At least I feel more confident.
I still wasn't happy when I learned that the same theatre company was presenting another production of Tommy, however. This was to be a concert version and I was even more skeptical because by now I knew that a lot of Tommy relied on costumes and scenery and special effects. And, to be honest, this company has a spotty history of musical accompaniment. When they are good they are "very good," but they aren't often "very good," and this would require them to be better than "very good."
I decided I'd go prepared this time and I rented the DVD. That's 2 hours of my life I'll never get back again! I hated it so much that it took two days for me to get through it all. And believe me, I'll never look at canned beans, chocolate, or Ann Margaret in quite the same way again.
But when the movie was over, at least I had a better understanding of what the show was about. I can't say it made any sense, but I did understand the premise better.
(I have to add, parenthetically here, that when you add up travel time, time in the theatre, and time writing the review, I don't earn minimum wage for any review that I write. Nobody expected me to spend another 2 hours watching the movie so I could "study" for this new production, but based on what happened last time, I wanted to be as prepared as I could possibly be this time around, in fairness to the company. I also made sure I took a nap before we went to the show, so I wouldn't have any problem falling asleep.)
To my surprise, I didn't hate it.
I didn't like it, particularly, but I didn't hate it. In fact, I liked it much better than the movie I had just rented.
The nicest thing was that this time I had enough information to know what I didn't like and what I did. I had enough information to give an informed opinion, unlike last time. There were performances in the show that I loved, actually. There were some who really impressed me and some who really did not have the talent for the roles they were singing. But I knew why this time.
I'm happy with the review I wrote. It won't bring full houses, but it might bring some people to see it who wouldn't otherwise because it's basically a positive, if unenthusiastic assessment. This is an OK show, not a "wow" show -- and I don't feel bad about saying that.
Bottom line is that I feel I redeemed myself as a reviewer. I've learned how to prepare for something that I feel unqualified to review, and I could review the production whether I liked the material or not.
Even if, when all the time is added up, I earned about $3 an hour doing it!!!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2666