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Writing about Theatre Shows

April 10, 2014

Recently, I’ve been offered the opportunity to be a theatre reviewer. Needless to say I’ve accepted and now had orientation for. Most in my life would say that such an opportunity is indeed perfect for me, since I have a pretty decent critical eye. However attending orientation I already learned something very important about reviewing: it’s not simply about having a critical eye.

As theatre artists, while we often learn through seeing other shows and have that stronger ability to analyze what worked, what didn’t, and how it could be stronger; 9 out of 10 times the audience doesn’t see the show in that way. When it’s not simply because they know someone involved with the show, they see it to experience it. Theatre is meant to entertain, make us feel, make us think, make us respond, to use all 5 senses, and for us to react to. So for writing about a show one has seen, it’s better to write about what it’s made you think and feel, as opposed to simply how it could’ve been better.

Another point that was made that I found fascinating was this: we as artists; and even simply we as people; are learning and growing each day. There’s always room for improvement, and none of us will ever be perfect at our crafts (after all: I would argue that theatre and all forms of art isn’t meant to be perfect- it’s just meant to make us think and feel regardless if it’s positive or negative). So who am I to tell someone else how they should what they should do to learn and grow? How would I know from seeing a show what would be the best way to do that for individual people? Of course, it shouldn’t be solely about the things you liked, and it should be included if there were things that didn’t work for you as the reviewer, but it shouldn’t solely be about reviewing and being critical (after all: no one likes giving bad reviews). It should be about why we all do theatre in the first place: the experience.

The last thing I was told that was also particularly interesting to me (although there were many, many, other things that I enjoyed hearing about at orientation as well) is that it should be avoided to call it theatre reviewing (even though I kind of did all over this post… oops). It should be avoided because it’s about more than simply reviewing a show. It’s about commentary, or post-reviewing as it was described to me. We aren’t simply doing it in hopes that people will read it and decide whether to go or not to go, but to talk about it. Especially from attending the orientation, I view this more as a way to give back to the theatre community that I love ever so deeply. More about spreading the word as to where amazing theatre is happening than any thing else.

Soon enough, I’ll have the opportunity to write about my first show professionally. I not only can’t wait to do so, but I’m excited to share that process and experience with all here! 🙂

sarah sig

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2014 9:57 am

    Congrats on the new gig!!

  2. April 14, 2014 12:13 am

    I started reviewing four or five years ago and not only is it one of the most fun “jobs” ever (I do get paid, but few writers of any kind get paid much), I feel so fortunate that people tend to find my work useful, entertaining, and insightful and I’ve been able to maintain cordial and productive relationships with the theater community. As far as I can tell, at least. 😉 I hope you have even half as good a time as I’m having.

    • April 14, 2014 3:23 am

      Thank you so much! I’m really excited to get started and get going! I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun and give me a chance to grow as a person and as an artist!

  3. May 14, 2014 10:51 pm

    Congrats on becoming a reviewer! How exciting for you and what a progression in your career I think. I look forward to reading about this new chapter. Good Luck! Eve.

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