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CALL ME ISHMAEL
28 April 2011
Here's my idea of theater:
* I get a ticket.
Here is what is NOT my idea of theater:
No. No, people. Audience members do not "wander among the performers" during the performance. That is not our job. Our job is to sit and observe. YOUR job is to be the performers. If I wanted to wander among the performers, I would have auditioned to be in the show.
The problem with being a reviewer in a university town is that everybody at the university wants to take advantage of the opportunity of being at a university to do all the avant garde stuff that they probably can't do out in the "real world." Often this involves audience interaction, two words that bring fear and terror to my heart.
Now, in all honesty, I have never been forced or even invited to participate in any production. They all seem very respectful of people like me who are terrified of being dragged on stage. But, you never know. I've never been made to feel uncomfortable, but I've sat through enough shows where I didn't know if I was going to be made to feel uncomfortable!
The current production opens next week and it is called The Moby-Dick Variations. I had been trying to avoid it, but of course I could not, and after an e-mail from the newspaper editor, one from the university publicity director with a follow up telephone call from the publicity director (if I were publicity director, I would have done the very same thing), I realized that I really do have to review this show next week.
But the main reason for avoiding it was having to admit that other than knowing that Moby Dick was a white whale and that the opening sentence of the book is "Call me Ishmael," I knew nothing about the story except that just about everybody says it's a horrible book to read.
Knowing I have to review this next week, I went to the Cliffs Notes for the book and read a plot summary, though I suspect that one screen full of description is not quite the same as reading the whole 135 chapter (plus epilogue) book!
Stuff like this strikes fear and terror in my heart too. I don't have a clue what this means....and I don't know that I have any perspectives of my own to bring to the production.
But if nothing else, past experience has taught me that I fake well. Let's
hope that still holds when I review this show.
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