Newest BLIP: What is the Main Purpose of a Theater Review?

Okay now that the fun and games are over (see this post for the final results of our last BLIP) let’s get back to basics: What is the Main Purpose of a Theater Review?

Here are the poll results so far. Remember you can’t see the results unless you vote, SO VOTE!

[poll id="13"]

I thought this might be an interesting poll because I have heard, on many occasions and from many critics, producers and artists alike, a wide variety of opinions on what exactly is the role and function of a theater review in the Twenty First Century.  I suppose it all depends on your point of reference, point of view and point of departure.  I thought about making the question “What SHOULD be the main purpose of a theater review?” But decided to stay away from sentiment and remain focused on what you think a theater review is, now, at this moment, what it is and what it does.

Also, I’m happy to add another option in the vote if anyone wants to add their two cents to the question.

All right. That’s it. Let’s see what the LemonHeadNation has to say on the question. VOTE!

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Colin Mitchell About the Author: COLIN MITCHELL: Actor/Writer/Director/Producer/Father, award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Broadway veteran, Marvel comics scribe, Van Morrison disciple, Zen-Catholic, a proud U.S. Army Brat conceived in Scotland and born in Frankfurt, Germany, currently living in Los Angeles and doing his best to piss off as many people as possible.

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  1. Jason Rohrer Jason Rohrer says:

    Separating the good from the bad is a byproduct of criticism. Critics are not shills (our second option above) nor arbiters of taste. We are artists working in support of artists.

    Which is why I choose the third option. In my reviews I try to speak for the benefit of the artists working on the show, to encourage certain directions and discourage others.

    The fourth option I have to admit I do not understand. I hear a lot about “the specific community” supposedly served or underserved by this or that art form. I much prefer to think of a society as one community, made up of smaller communities that interact in a common forum.

    And the fifth is irrelevant in terms of my own criticism. I already am smarter than everybody else.

  2. Colin Mitchell Colin Mitchell says:

    I had a little difficulty wording number 4, but the main gist is that I have heard from many critics that they adjust, edit, soften, gear their reviews for their specific audience, older, gayer. less-theater-sophisticated, female, etc…

    In other words Frontiers, EyeSpyLA and the LA Weekly – though they may have some crossover – generally have decidedly different audiences.

    Including #4 was an attempt to capture that type of review and reviewer, something which I personally find incredibly confusing and for the most part dishonest.

    Write the review according to your personal experience of the production and the talent, intelligence and history you bring to that experience; let the person reading that review do what they have to do to either catch up, slow down or come along for the ride.

  3. Jason Rohrer Jason Rohrer says:

    Well said! Talking down is a crime.