The reason is simple: I can’t sustain the work of serious theatre criticism and also be a writer, without regularly slamming into the walls of exhaustion that have bedevilled me this year (and not only this year). It’s a lamentable fact that writing doesn’t get easier: it gets harder, as each new work demands that you reach further. I suspect the same is true of reviewing. I have always hated repeating myself, and aside from the works I’m already writing, the various projects I have in mind demand and deserve my proper attention. Despite all my flailing attempts to avoid it, I find that I have to make a choice: and it has to be for my own work.
It is somewhat sobering to see Ms. Croggon admit that criticism must take second place to her other writing (certainly her criticism, as imaginative as it is evaluative, is as much her own work as the fiction, poetry, and libretti she produces), but having been in this position myself I must sympathize.
I remember coming across Theatre Notes shortly after it was launched, and over the years Ms. Croggon’s been a steadfast and tireless supporter not only of Melbourne theatre but also of this and many other theatre blogs; she has also been a vocal and lucid advocate for the kind of serious theatre and dramatic criticism that has been disappearing from the print media, uniquely leading by example. Theatre Notes and the “Noises Off” column at the Guardian were essential in making the theatrical blogosphere an international phenomenon, however brief that was. Now that both of these are gone, the blogosphere is a smaller place.
Ms. Croggon’s writing and criticism were never less than clear-eyed, knowledgable, enthusiastic, and (when called for) acidly amusing, and she has often enough expressed dismay at my occasional threats to close this blog down as well. But there’s enough dismay to go around without my adding to it for what is a perfectly reasonable decision. I wish her well on her future endeavors.