I used to teach a Small Press Publishing class at SUNYBuffalo. At the end of the semester I would get student reviews. Predominately, they were stellar, but very occasionally negative. When that happened I would forget about the 20 good ones and ruminate on the bad one.
When I did my opera, Aphrodisia, in 2006, I also got one good and one really mixed review. The critic that wrote the good review, loved it and got what I was doing. The Chronicle called it a tone poem, which made sense, and then dissed it for being a tone poem. It wasn’t to his taste and that was that. But of course it’s more than that. My little opera toe into the water, stayed just that. Who knows what two rave reviews would have meant for my opera writing trajectory.
Even my artistic compadres had quite different opinions. Some loved it. Some didn’t. One even said, it was one of the best things they had seen at The Marsh. (Notice where my memory has moved to :))
And that’s all OK. But what does it mean when you, The Marshians, are confronted with a set of mixed reviews?
Look, we have an incredible lineup of shows right now. So many that we can’t even get them all reviewed. Here’s the question: what can we do to get you comfortable and motivated to come to lots of our shows based on both reviews and not reviews?
For instance, next week, COPS AND ROBBERS – which has many great reviews but has not been reviewed by The Chronicle – transfers to San Francisco for just four Fridays. This is a seminal show about the police and African American community by a Rap Star, Jinho “The Piper” Ferreira, turned Alameda Deputy Sheriff. What could be more politically relevant during these times? It’s also wonder of a show and performance. Please come.
And if we look at Geoff Hoyle’s new show, LEAR’S SHADOW, I ask, who is a better performer than Geoff? And who better to play King Lear’s Fool? The Examiner calls it “Sublime! An astonishing tour de force. Brilliant.” The Chronicle is more mixed (Not that we agree. We think Shadow is a fantastically iconic Marsh show, directed by Mr. David Ford.). To quote The Chronicle, “The sum effect is one of a great play glimpsed through a somewhat narrow aperture… and a breath-stopping exchange with an audience member that vaults “Lear’s Shadow” into another realm.”
So there you have it. Reviews! What they do and what they don’t.
I’m happy to hear your thoughts…your reviews. Send them to me.
And don’t forget to join us for our MARSH TALK 3 on April 26 in Berkeley with Charlie Varon, Rebecca Fisher and Mark Kenward’s SOLO PERFORMANCE 2.0: Energy, Intimacy & Community.
Meanwhile look below and see the eclectic, iconic, quality driven list of shows you can see this week. Where else but at The Marsh.
All my best,
Founder and Artistic Director
P.S. or FYI. I spent the week in Solvang at Alisal, riding a horse for the first time. Well the first three times. And I am still alive and not even too too sore!!!