Monday, March 29, 2010

Making like a job

This past weekend, I attended a show in my official capacity as a theatre reviewer. It's a job I've done occasionally for the last two years or so, and I've reviewed one excellent show, several good shows, and many . shows. But this past weekend, I saw what I might consider my first "bad" show. Leaving the theatre, I had very specific problems with the show I saw, what I thought about it, and the overall unsatisfying taste that it left in my mouth. But now I was faced with a problem. Well, if not a problem, per se, at least an interesting first time event: I had to write a review for a show I did not like.

In the past, I have written reviews for shows that I didn't especially care for, a show that just wasn't on my frequency, and even one show that tried to do a whole lot but had the whole thing come crashing down around it. But this was the first one where I was hard-pressed to come up with things that I enjoyed. Overall, I realized that my major problems were with the show itself and not the production. But still, this was a theatrical clunker I had to discuss.

Now, let's make things even more complicated. I know people in this show. I know they will read this review, and I know they will recognize my name. I am not cowering in the back corner, hiding behind my editor, scared to write an honest review of the show. (For the record, my editor is very complimentary and very supportive of the critical eye I bring to my work. She's got my back.) And I've gotten bad reviews before as well. The line I hope to walk is to make intelligent perceptive points about the show while not seeming like I have an agenda myself. The sort of review where the people involved would go "Crap, he saw through everything and he makes really excellent points." The sort of thing they would not necessarily enjoy, but the sort of thing they must agree with.

I just emailed it to the boss. It's out of my hands now, and I feel pretty good on a job well done. And I can also take comfort in the fact that I'll never know if they read it or not. At least... not unless they tell me.

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