re: Speaking of Bullying...
Posted by: JereNYC (JereNYC@aol.com) 09:52 am EDT 05/19/21
In reply to: re: Speaking of Bullying... - Snowysdad 09:22 am EDT 05/19/21

Here's another question that pertains to your experience, one that I'm sure many critics outside major urban areas have faced.

Is it different if the theatre maker isn't someone making their living from their work in the theatre? Should "professionals" (and I use that word unwillingly, simply because I cannot think of a better one, and I know there are people working at the highest professional standards at all levels, regardless of whether or not they are being paid or earning a living) be subject to a higher/harsher level of criticism than the nurse or the sales clerk who's also making theatre in their "spare" time simply because they love it?

On the one hand, I think that a critic has to review the production in front of him/her and write as honestly as possible about their reactions and that is no different whether it's a Broadway show or a community theatre in a church basement. But I also think you cannot hold that community theatre to the same standard as Broadway. And, that said, I came up through the community theatre circuit in suburban Philadelphia (where there was, and may continue to be MUCH community theatre) and I got to see and be a part of some amazing theatre that rivaled in quality anything I've seen in New York in the years I've been here.

So where's the line there? I try to walk it, as an audience member, when I see non-professional productions and speak to people involved afterward. I sometimes work hard to be as positive as I can and not focus on the flaws lest I be accused of holding some community theatre with a budget of $1.98 to New York standards. And, of course, there's a lot of productions in New York that also are put up on a shoestring budget that shows. But I also don't want to be a Pollyanna and be dishonest about something that I legitimately didn't like. Because I think people, no matter the level, deserve honest criticism, even if it's negative.

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