Wednesday, December 07, 2005

response to the responders

Sincere thanks to all who have commented on my review of The Fantasticks (yes, including all those who have been highly critical of the review and me).

A slightly revised version of it will appear in tomorrow's Inlander newspaper.

I've posted a response at the end of the (41, and growing) comments to that review (below, Dec. 4).
I'm afraid it rambles on and on for 3,000 words. (No, I'm not drunk, just over-caffeinated.)
And it's not even finished.

That Bobo does know how to go on and on. That poor dear; I'm afraid he's lost it.

But seriously, folks -- the comments have been insightful and appreciated. Everyone has behaved -- just what a blog should do. So have a cup of tea and read all the comments -- if you want. Nobody's saying this is required reading.

24 Comments:

At December 13, 2005 12:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we get a new critic for christmas?

 
At December 13, 2005 12:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

R they still having Bobo direct a reading stage? Has anyone ever seen him act? OUCH

 
At December 13, 2005 1:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm thinking Bobo doesn't have much time for this blog since his promotion.

 
At December 13, 2005 1:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen Spielberg or Scorsese or Hitchcock act? One doesn't necessarily translate to the other.

 
At December 13, 2005 2:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh yeah I was being serious.

 
At December 13, 2005 2:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

He acts like a frustrated Actor/Director who wants to be in the club.

 
At December 13, 2005 2:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You never see Bobo and Spielberg in the same place.HMMMMMMMMMMMMM

 
At December 13, 2005 3:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen Scorsese in several films (Kirosoua's (sp?) Dreams & Fish Tale to name just two). His acting is quite good. Never seen Bobo act, but it is true, you don't have to be a great actor to be a great director.

 
At December 15, 2005 11:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please Inlander friends let this blog be over!

 
At December 15, 2005 12:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Bowen realy get a promotion after all this? Wow

 
At December 15, 2005 1:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

In his looong comment he said he's now the Arts and Culture Editor.

 
At December 15, 2005 1:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

promotion to what? where?

 
At December 15, 2005 3:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is sad news.

 
At December 15, 2005 8:32 PM , Anonymous Screwtape said...

I don't suppose you anonymites have noticed that Michael hasn't updated anything since restricting the eternally-growing snark thread. Perhaps he has indeed gone. Now what will you all use as an outlet for your negative energy? Well, I suppose there's always your families. 'Tis the season.

 
At December 16, 2005 2:31 AM , Anonymous Ground Zero said...

I can't imagine that the theatre community truley wants a critic with no teeth. There are productions that are not good. Performers that are not good And plays that are not adored by all. Does that mean there can be no NEGATIVITY in a reveiw?

I thought the purpose of a review was to have a third eye see the flaw, reveal the flaw and help us correct the flaw.

I view my craft as one I will NEVER be perfect at and NEVER stop learning about.

It saddens me that so many people want to sqelch a creative voice simply because they perceive it to be negative.

I guess there are those who feel differently than I, but I must say that in most thatrical communities. Critics are not usually accomodating.

That's why they are called CRITICS and not PROMOTERS.

You may think differently, but then I find Spokane to be a sligthy different artistic animal.

thanks for the time, GZ.

 
At December 16, 2005 7:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me it wasn't the negativity. It was the fact the he decided before he went through the door he wasn't going to like it, because he hates that show. I don't expect parental unconditional love from a critic, but he should wait until he sees a show to make up his mind.

 
At December 16, 2005 9:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Ground Zero
Bobo is not a promoter he is a reporter.... and he reported exactly what he saw. I went to the show myself and the fact is, it's just not a good show. So there you have it. Get over it people... please

 
At December 16, 2005 12:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our 12-year old nephew Shane is reading The Christmas Carol with his class at school this month. Since both S/R and Inlander reviewers recommended the current Civic production as a traditional, classic one, we thought it a great opportunity to broaden Shane's experience by taking him to the theater.

At intermission, Shane was quite upset about how the play was different than the book. Frankly, I had ignored most of what I considered to be minor changes in this interpretation, but I tried to explain to Shane how things can and are different between stories on the page and stories on stage. As Shane and I talked, it became apparent what really bothered him was the physical violence at the end of Act I, when Belle rejects young Scrooge. Certainly there he's right. There is nothing in the book about Scrooge manhandling other females at the party or starting a fist fight with his peers or abusing his employers' hospitality, despite Bewlle's rejection. The more I thought about this though, the more it disturbed me. Why today do we the need to inject physical violence as reaction, justification, explanation, etc., etc, in everything? Is this something we as audiences need and expect? Is violence a cop-out of the director or actor to depict more complex or subtler emotions? Does violence somehow enhance the dramatic experience?

I confess to being a theater novice compared to many of the people who write on this blog (screwtape, ground zero, madclam, bobo, etc.), so I don't always trust my own reactions. Does anyone else have any thoughts about violence onstage - in general or in this production of A Christmas Carol in particular. I'd appreciate your comments. I've stewed over it so much that a good answer to the issues my nephews simple objections raised has me stumped. Thank you.

 
At December 16, 2005 1:15 PM , Blogger Bobo the Theater Ho said...

Yes, that's right -- I got a promotion _because_ I wrote a negative review of The Fantasticks. If I had written a glowing review, I would have been fired. My boss hates The Fantasticks even more than I do.

I'm being sarcastic, of course. Just to be explicit: None of the above is true. The decision had been in the works long before.

In fact -- this part is true -- our editor and publisher, in our editorial meeting yesterday, expressed some concern, saying that, given what everybody knows to be Interplayers' precarious financial position, maybe I "should have pulled [my] punches."

The rest of the staff mostly took a say-what-you-mean, report-what-you-saw attitude. I certainly considered pulling punches, but decided against it because I think producing shows like this runs counter to the cause of creating good theater in Spokane, contining to attract loyal audiences and drawing in new ones.

I don't take the position that reviews can't consider or must disregard a theater's non-artistic situation -- of course they can. Politics and X don't mix? Don't bring economics (or religion, or sex) into this discussion? Personally, I've always recoiled from arguments like that. There are no necessary, distinct boundaries: Politics and economics, etc., permeate everything we do, just about.

I want the theater scene to be as vibrant and exciting as it can be. Personally, I don't think doing The Fantasticks serves that purpose.

 
At December 16, 2005 6:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:05,

Your son is dead on with his feelings about that scene. It isn't part of the classic Christmas Carol as the show was promoted to be. It is also jarring in that period. That particular class of people, did not behave in such an absurd manner. Planting a kiss on another guest's date had zero shock factor and simply took an aware audience out the play. If it is traditional, then use a traditional adaptation, else set the play in a homeless section of an inner city and have drive by shootings. Tiny Tim can ride on his homeless family's shopping cart and get shot in the leg. It was an absurd adaptation and it didn't work. Additionally, even without that anachronistic behavior of Young Scrooge, the adaptation is the worst "classical" adaptation I've seen.

Bobo -- Call it like you see it! The artists and friends can disagree and protest on the blog if they choose, but remain honest with the opinion. Fantastick's is a tired show that theater's produce at a time when they are in financial difficulty and must put on the obligatory musical. For some reason beyond my limited comprehension, it does continue to bring in audiences.

 
At December 17, 2005 1:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the development of Scrooge from young lover to old cynic could have been handled with more subtlety. Although I didn't see a "fistfight", or outright violence. I think that's an exaggeration. A couple of shoves was about it, and hardly worth comparing with a drive by. And yes, what was the point of him kissing the other girl?

 
At December 17, 2005 10:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The drive by was facetious as a comparison to changing classical literature. The problem with the scene is that the book's author put more thought into the scene than the adapter. If a theater bills a play as the "classic", it should follow through. Dicken's clearly works on Scrooges lifetime losses and gains. He loses comfort, companionship, love and family for wealth, greed and lust of money (that he doesn't spend or make useful). That's the classic tale and it works fine without Scrooge having to kiss his friend's newly announced fiance' and push his friends and associates around. Again, that class did not behave in that manner, and if they had, the men in the party would have kicked his scrawny butt. He would have been dueling and dead. It was just an effect that didn't work at all and disengaged the audience from the play.

 
At December 18, 2005 12:32 AM , Anonymous madclam said...

Anonymous 12:05...good for your nephew for noticing and objecting to that moment of inappropriate violence in A CHRISTMAS CAROL...both the shoving and the kiss. The source would most likely be the script...the adaptation by Barbara Fields...as interpreted by the director and carried out by the actors. Certainly, adaptors mess around with classic stories all the time, usually to negative effect, and quite honestly, don't get called on it because many of us are unfamiliar with or have forgotten the original material. The only reasonable explanation is that the adaptor somehow feels that the original material needs to be "improved"...made "stronger", more "dramatic", more "relevant", more something or other. Thank you for reminding us that a classic is a classic for a reason and that any adaptation should remain true to the spirit and tone of the original. I, too, found that scene disturbing; and I commend your nephew for his perceptive reactions.

 
At December 18, 2005 9:38 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That scene showed a lack of faith in both actor and audience. The director and/or adaptor should have trusted that the actor could portray Scrooge's change of heart, and the audience could perceive it, without adding dramatic devices.

 

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