Sunday, September 28, 2008
Harry Potter...naked! Didn't the theater used to be the avant garde? Doesn't liberalism and scandal abound? Aren't we tired of hearing that the word actress is the equivalent of prostitute in some convenient number of languages? Why then, for god's sake, is it so important to report that Daniel Radcliff is naked in a play? Are we so desperate for puns? Here, here, you can look up the rest.
So I've been a bit busy at the Northlight Theatre where I am working on their current production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher. Here are some reviews: Sun-Times, Pioneer Local, and BroadwayWorld.com. The reviews are sort of all over the place, which is interesting. It took me so long to believe in aesthetic absolutism (which is obviously remarkably unpopular) it is surprising how quickly I'm reminded of the subjectivity of art's impression on individuals.
By aesthetic absolutism what I guess I mean is the belief in an objective gauge of excellence in aesthetic matters. I do truly believe that this exists. I believe a person can say, unapologetically, that Life as a House is a bad movie. Or that King Lear is a great play. This matters.
Often people ask in dressing rooms or on barstools what gives a critic the right to judge art. The answer is simple, the critic has seen the show. Everyone who sees the show is the critic and everyone has a right to an opinion. But in the same way that a person's opinion on cats doesn't change whether or not cats exist, or one's opinion of a single cat doesn't change whether it is male or female, calico or black, one's opinion of a production will be influenced but not necessarily defined by the production's excellence. Down Periscope is a film I enjoy, but it is not a great film. The Homecoming is a good play, but I don't really care for it. The ability to distinguish these makes a good critic, the harmony of them, perhaps, makes an excellent one.
At any rate, enjoy these reviews if you can. I'll post more as they crop up. Also here's a link to buy tickets to the show to see if these clowns are right.