The Playgoer: Gonzo Criticism?

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gonzo Criticism?

I like this term music critic Molly Sheridan has coined over on her blog--more to describe something nascent and/or possible than currently practiced.

She asks:

Is the concert review, the cd review, [in theatre, we may add, the play review] and the once-in-a-while profile piece really all there is? What would gonzo arts reporting be and what might it do for the place?
Anyone out there wanna answer that one, from a theatre perspective?


Art said...

Some critics will occassionally do things like write a play, perform in a short play festival or participate in a Standup Comedy class.

I think Stanger Theatre Critic Brandon Kiley tried to live-blog a review of Thom Pain in Seattle. (He had to do it from the tech booth.)

Aaron Riccio said...

Well, directors and actors who blog about the shows they are working on are already doing a sort of gonzo criticism; I don't think gonzo journalism would accomplish all that much though -- it's good for the critic/journalist to have that sort of experience, just because it wakes up their language, but I often find even gonzo travel writing to be a little hard to follow, depending on the narrative voice.

Anonymous said...

gonzo REPORTING of cultural news - -could be useful if done will with rich reporting.
but gonzo CRITICISM? sounds like an excuse for even more self-absorption and snideness in reviewing.

Nick said...


Theatre reviews are read today mainly as pull-quotes in publicity. In the future they will be diminished even further from their current capsule format toward star ratings. The artist/critic will become the chief source of the new criticism. Of course this criticism will come from a specific subjectivity and based in a specific aesthetic of practice but “gonzo” is probably too extreme an adjective for what will develop.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Toronto Star's article on Evil Dead, reported by Richard Ouzounian from the front-row "splash-zone," and accompanied by a photo of Mr. O getting soaked with stage blood?