Theatre Reviewer Opinions: Everyone Has One
So, with two shows left to go for my run in American Rapture at 42nd street's Beckett Theatre, I can say it has been, overall, a wonderful experience. I've been with a great theatre company, directed by a wonderful and brilliant director, I've gotten to work with a fabulous script by one of this century's most gifted playwrights, and I've been allowed to share the stage with a collection of incredibly talented and amazing actors. It's been a pleasure.
I've also been blessed with several wonderful reviews, including one in Backstage, which singled my acting out as pretty darn good. "The two actors who appear only in the Saroyan play, about a man in jail for possible rape, are exceptional. Stewart Walker as the prisoner conveys an experience and yearning far beyond the confines of his cell, and Dianna Martin is simply heartbreaking as the jail's powerless cook, who is as lonely and longing as her prisoner and keeps him company."
There were several others that said lovely things and I'm thankful to each and every one of those reviewers who thought my work good enough to comment on and say something nice about...at least all the hard work I did didn't go to waste.
Then, of course, there are people who don't like what my co-star and I did. Our play - the style and the acting that would effectively carry it, are not to some people's tastes. So a few reviewers simply mentioned everyone BUT us in their lovely reviews of the show. Okay...I guess I'd rather be not mentioned than to be singled out as something they hated. Everyone has an opinion.
But one reviewer did mention how much he disliked Hello Out There (the play that my co-star and I were in in the evening of short plays, a play that was written by William Saroyan) - and the actors work so much, that he barely left time to talk about how much he loved the rest of the show - a point he was trying to make but could not do so because he was too busy enjoying being a catty bastard. In fact...I wouldn't mind so much, except that he also put down my looks; my actual physical appearance. "...She’s, well, plain. Dumpy. Homely? Yes." Uh, WTF? The attacks on my physical features notwithstanding, the (I would say writer, but...) also gives away the ending completely in the review (spoiling it for anyone who hasn't read/seen it) and says basically that our performances and my fat ass made the the rest of the plays of the evening look bad. He spent so much time talking about that...that he didn't have hardly any time to really focus on the beauty of the rest of the show, which he agreed was wonderful. Hell, if you don't like what we did but you like the rest of the show, move the fuck on and talk about THEIR good work.
I ask you - what is the point of that? In all honesty, it almost seemed like someone was going for the jugular...it was unnecessary. I've read reviews from this site before and thought that some of the writers were often writing more to hear themselves talk, expounding on diatribes filled with multi-syllable words and conclusions drawn about theatre from an intellectual...and nasty nasty standpoint instead of one based in what was truly grounded in the acting. It's a good thing that the "writer" of the piece doesn't have a bio; I'd go send my Min Pin Chico to crap on his doorstep...with a picture of my "plain, dumpy, homely" ass next to it extending a middle finger.
The only good thing about his review was that he gave good kudos to my fellow cast-mates, whom I think did a wonderful job - especially that Laura got a splendid mention, which I think has been overlooked too often. I also think that he did a disservice to my co-star, Stewart; for fuck's sake, if you don't like fat actresses, then say it; don't take it out on Stewie; he did a great job.
But I have to remember: our director made a good point - about the irony that so many reviewers came to the same show and everyone walked out with a different point of view. And so...to be up on stage, one has to be able to take the good with the bad and not put too much stock in either. Difficult to do, indeed.