The Playgoer: Quote of the Day

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Quote of the Day

"...do we take the critic’s (or media outlet’s) word that s/he is qualified to express an expert opinion? Or do we not see critics as “experts”, but simply as citizens like ourselves who have the good fortune to have a larger mouthpiece? Do we build trust with a critic over time – e.g., we see things about which they have written, and find ourselves agreeing with them – and how seriously do we take a “betrayal” of that trust? In the democratizing days of the internet, anyone can set themselves up a web-site, say “ImATheaterCritic.com”, call themselves a critic, and issue their opinion to as many people as are willing to read it. How does this affect our notion of critics?"

-Steppenwolf Literary Manager Ed Sobel (on the neato Steppenwolf blog)

Have at it, "theatrecritic.com" people!

1 comment:

Don R. Hall said...

It is true that with the blogosphere, any rube with an email address and and internet connection can set himself up as a critic of just about anything, qualification or no.

As for a trust that is built, that trust is a three way road - the audience, the artist, and the critic. The audience often looks to the critic for a hint - a first look - and if the critic recommends a production the audience hates too many times, the trust is broken and the critic is ignored. If the critic is unethical and irresponsible, eventually the artist's will ignore her and refuse her admission (it really is better to have no review than to let a critic like Hedy take her potshots).

Are critics "experts"? Some are, most aren't and, like artists, many will be mediocre but the great ones will stand out. Critics are a part of the machine that artists submit themselves to in order to, in the most optimistic of worlds, learn from an objective eye, and in the most cynical, create a marketing blurb.