|Please, Don't Tell All
Dear Bay Weekly:
I am happy to have publicity, but I wish your theatre reviewer, Carol Glover, hadn't told the whole plot of the show in her review of Inspecting Carol [Vol. VIII No. 44, Nov. 2-8]. It is like watching a trailer for a movie and seeing all the good parts on it and then being disappointed when you see the movie and you already know what is going to happen. Here is the viewpoint of another person who works backstage and on stage, my costume designer Karen Eske.
Unfortunately, almost all the local theatre critics that cover community theatre seem to feel it is their duty to give plot summaries rather than critique the production. I guess they figure that way you can decide if you want to go. But at that point, who needs to go? How I would LOVE to see someone write about the director's vision, wonderful (or bad) casting; an actor's characterization; inventive (or ineffective) set design; inspired sound design; great (or terrible) lighting; or perfect (or dreadful) costumes. Oh well. At least it IS publicity!
Oh well, at least it was a good review.
-Pat Browning, Colonial Players
Editor's note: Pat Browning directed Inspecting Carol, Colonial Players' current production.
Reviewer Replies - to Players ...
Dear Pat - and Colonial Players:
I'm appreciative of your letter. Conversations about theater always interest me.
I understand your point of view about the plot, but this is how my thinking goes. Many theater-goers know how Hamlet ends and what tragedy awaits the family in Long Day's Journey into Night. Knowing does not deter us from seeing either play over and over again. Theater, to me, is experiencing: It's the actors reaching across the footlights to take me on an intimate journey through the landscape of the play. Each journey is different and magical. If I'm disappointed, it's because the theater company hasn't done its job. I'm there at the theater; I've done my part.
I agree with Karen Eske to some extent. Lighting, sound, characterization and the director's interpretation of the written word are all important. But I return to my previous point: It's the story - and the way it's told - that draws us in.
I'm hoping your letter will start a dialogue with Bay Weekly readers. As Joan Rivers used to say, "Let's talk."
-Carol Glover, Bay Weekly Theatre Reviewer
...and Invites Readers' Say
Dear Bay Weekly Readers:
Please join our discussion. Write and tell us what in our reviews entices you into local theaters, because that's our goal. Is it the story, the playwright's reputation, the acting, the theater company? And tell us if you are a regular or sporadic theater-goer or a member of a theater company.
Send your thoughts to: Theatre Dialogue, Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 · Phone 410/867-0304 · Fax 410/867-0307 · E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.