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The First Review

April 24, 2014

Any of those who have read my last post, knows that I’ve recently accepted an opportunity to see shows and write about them. While I’m not allowed to include the actual review in this post as part of my contract, I can write the experience and things I’ve learned from my first time writing my thoughts on a show that got published.

1. You’re treated as anyone else in the experience. When I went to see the show, I had my free tickets waiting at the box office and from then on out was treated just like anyone else. I had some pretty good seats, but not particularly best seats of the house variety. No one mentioned it, and no one came up to me about it. Quite frankly I prefer it that way. After all, someone there to write about a show is still an audience member, with the only difference being their opinions on it will be public. So why should there be special treatment?

2. Research is your best friend and your worst enemy. I did a lot of research when I was sitting down getting ready to write. The good news was I found a lot of helpful info, like meanings of key words and concepts in the show along with interviews with the writer/director/etc. Although in that research I’ve found links of other reviews- sometimes included in the helpful info. I personally wanted to avoid other people’s thoughts till after mine was published since I didn’t want to be tainted (both by noticing something I didn’t originally and by writing a review similar to their’s). Research can really help understand certain elements of a production, but it’s important to make sure it still your perspective that will come through in the writing.

3. Writing about shows professionally isn’t the same as educationally. When I started my undergrad theatre degree, one thing I did all the time was see shows on campus and write about them. I did it so much I became quite good at them, and the majority of them I got easy A’s on. Now that it’s more than 5 years later and I finished that degree quite some time ago, not only was getting back in that mindset took longer then I thought, but it turns out it’s a different style of writing!  Professionally written should be much shorter yet still cover all the main points from synopsis, thoughts/feelings, and including all major aspects of the production. My shortest college “review” was 2 pages, this had to be no more than 500 words (which isn’t even a page!).

4. Writing is rewriting. I revised my piece several times. The first several just seemed off to me (partly from what I covered it the last point that it is a different and in my case new way to write). After 3 or 4 rewrites and revisions, I was pretty happy and found what I wrote to be acceptable for my first time writing about theatre professionally.

5. Talking about thoughts on a show is different then writing about them. I’m great with verbal feedback. I often have a lot of thoughts and pretty good vocalizing them (my actor boyfriend could justify that one). I really thought before entering that theatre that this would be perfect for me from how good I am at that (which I admit now was a little native). This is one of those things that’s going to take a little more time before I feel that same level of comfort with writing them down (after all: it is two different forms of communication along with vastly different listener(s) hearing/reading your thoughts).

And finally:

6. Seeing what you wrote published is just a great feeling. 🙂

sarah sig

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