The critic/dramatist dichotomy continues to break down in small ways; Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout’s Satchmo at the Waldorf, directed by Gordon Edelstein, opens at the Long Wharf Theatre in October, and even Time Out New York‘s David Cote saw a reading of his play Otherland at Project Shaw earlier this month. Sherri Kronfield’s “Where is our Tiki Barber? Theatre makers as theatre critics” at Howlround reflects her observation that not much of this is happening the other way around — that few practitioners are seriously trying their hand at criticism, or at least reviewing. The reasons for this seem to be a combination of fear and loathing — fear of expressing a career-stalling opinion, and the loathing associated with the usual professional jealousy and envy. As someone who’s done playwriting, reviewing, and criticism, and written about all these at frankly monstrous length over the past nine years, I can only shrug my shoulders. On the other hand, the final production of the 13P collective, Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play, is banning reviews of the play, or at least discouraging them. And so it goes.
It goes too in several new entries at Hunter College’s Hot Review, edited by critic Jonathan Kalb. There are new essays by Jennifer Cayer on Annie Baker’s adaptation of Uncle Vanya, now at Soho Rep through the end of August, and by Susan Kattwinkel on Mike Daisey’s new monologue (“The piece, however, ends with a treacly message of hope that is intended to inspire but instead feels manipulative and false“); there’s also the full text of an interview with Richard Foreman conducted just after 9/11, and published there for the first time in its entirety. Kalb’s advice to the young critic is still online here, by the way, and worth the read.
Although the formal third part of Ian Thal’s memoir of the recent Theatre Communications Group conference remains unpublished as he ties up a few permission-related loose ends, he writes about the controversy this week in his entry at the Clyde Fitch Report, “Theatre Miscommunications Group?” Read it and weep, or laugh, or gnash your teeth.