You may be forgiven for mistaking the next meeting of the New York Drama Critics’ Circle for a maternity ward; this week brought a slew of contenders tripping over their Kleenex boxes for a shot at the Most Lachrymose Reviewer honor. Yesterday, Ben Brantley in a think-piece for the New York Times admitted, “When the big party moment came around in The Suit, I still had tear tracks on my face from earlier scenes” — maybe his essay could be more accurately described as a “feel-piece.” Also yesterday, the New Yorker‘s Hilton Als described himself as overcome with tears at a press performance of Good Person of Szechwan: “We cry with Shen Tei because Taylor Mac will not let her faith go,” he says. Come, come, Mr. Als — I saw that show too. Stiff upper lip and all that; it’s a very good, imperfect production of a minor Brecht play, not the Resurrection of Our Lord. And today, reviewing a Florida production of A Raisin in the Sun, Terry Teachout writes, “If you’d been at last Saturday’s matinee, you would also have heard weeping throughout the auditorium during the final scene of this glorious revival. Never have tears been so honestly earned.” I fear that Mr. Teachout may have disqualified himself here by reporting on the audience’s tears rather than his own.
All this, just in the first week of February — if this keeps up, it’ll be a long, wet year on the Rialto. Audiences are herewith advised to be on their guard: they don’t want to slip in the pool of tears collecting next to the aisle seat. Apparently British critics are made of sterner stuff: when the Guardian‘s Lyn Gardner goes to the theatre these days, she’s usually just bored.
A few other notes from around the Web this week:
HowlRound, the Web site for Emerson’s Center for the Theatre Commons, is accepting applications for critics who will emphasize “positive inquiry and rigorous thinking” in their writing. Thomas Garvey is skeptical.
After a lengthy hiatus, theatre blogging veteran Garrett Eisler returns to The Playgoer. Mr. Eisler says that, at least for now, he will be posting reviews every week or so; he begins with this evaluation of Broadway’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. All I can suggest is that he lay in a generous supply of Puffs.