As always, photo by Ken Stein/Runs With Scissor
First of all, we are very excited to be named the Pick of the Week on OffOffOnline! The great review is by Mitch Montgomery. It’s the first review so far in which I feel like the writer has a grasp on what we’re getting at, looking at what’s there as opposed to what’s not. And another encouraging comment from Goldstar:
“at first you’re like, what the hell? but as the play goes on, you laugh hysterically and really get into the stories. the theatre is extremely small and intimate – you can see every expression on ever actor’s face at all times. because this was such an itimate, positive, unique experience, i plan to see more plays at the brick.”
It’s wonderful to hear such nice things not only about the content, but about the experience
However, art is subjective (or so I’ve heard), and we’ve received three negative reviews as well. Each of them I think approaches the show from same angle, and therefore has the same problem with the show, despite their individual variations.
Here’s the Time Out review.
Here’s the Backstage review.
Here’s the Aaron Riccio’s review (posted in several places).
I’m disappointed by these reviews, which tend to discuss what the writers wish we had done rather than what we’re actually doing. Something about short-form reviews (and I freelance as a reviewer for Time Out, so I’ve experienced this firsthand), is that it thwarts nuance. Some of the things we’re being criticized for are overt choices, but the low word count forces them to be treated as mistakes or overall ineptness, which needless to say is not an opinion we share.
That being said, in certain circumstances I find myself wondering if these three critics were watching the same show as some of the positive responses. It’s discouraging how the call to imagination that we make with this show (and with many Piper shows) goes unanswered by so many. To me, theatre is not a closed piece of content to be fed wholesale to audiences; rather, it’s an invitation to a collaboration, in which the work begun by the artist is complemented and completed by the work done in the mind of the viewer. None of the negative reviews seems to view the relationship in this way, but rather examine the show as an object to be held at arm’s length.
Ah well. As Matt Freeman put it in a recent blog post regarding his current show, When Is a Clock, “One way I know we must be doing something right: no one, not reviewers, not audiences, not even those in the production, have a mild opinion about both the play and the production.” I embrace this diversity of opinion, even it does get a bit overwhelming at times.