Confessions of an American Amateur Theater-Reviewer


Comedy. Tragedy.


TO THE READER. — I here present you, courteous reader, with my new monthly theater review series which I have extremely high hopes for at this point in my life: according to my application of it, I trust that it will prove, not merely an interesting series, but, in a considerable degree, useful and instructive. It is in that hope that I have drawn it up: and that must be my apology for breaking through that delicate and honorable reserve, which, for the most part, restrains us from voicing our opinion of the Arts in public—without the cloak of a screen name or avatar, that is. Because nothing, indeed, is more off-putting to my fellow Americans, than the idea of some guy on the internet offering up his unwanted opinion of something, and washing away that mellow congenial glaze, which time, or overexposure to Pop Culture, has accumulated over them: accordingly, the greater part of American confessions proceed from wife-beating athletes and musicians, psychotic murderers, and corrupt politicians: and for any such acts of gratuitous self-humiliation from the likes of those mentioned above, who over time somehow manage to regain sympathy with the decent and self-respecting part of society, one must surely overlook what I intend to jot down here for all the internet to see—my gratuitous humiliating act—because all can be so easily forgiven, right? And all of this I feel so passionately, and so nervous am I, that I have for many months hesitated about going forward with this, or posting any other blogs with criticism, to come before the public eye, and opted to keep my thoughts to myself: and it is not without an anxious assessment of the reasons, for and against the series, that I have, at last, decide to say fugg it!



The Negro Ensemble Company


For my own part, without breach of truth or modesty, I may affirm, that my life has been, at least in part, like that of a philosopher’s: from my birth I showed signs of being an intellectual creature: though intellectual in the highest sense my pursuits and pleasures have not always been, especially in my younger days. If going to the theater is one of life’s sensual pleasures, then I am bound to confess that I have only indulged in it sparingly, and my current task has not yet been endeavored by any other critic, it is even more true that I have struggled with the elitism of the theater crowd with a religious zeal, and have, in some minor degree, accomplished what I never yet heard attributed to any other amateur theater reviewer—I will untwist, then re-twist and then untwist again, the plots of famous stage plays, lesser known ones and even a few contemporary pieces to see if the stories, subtexts and overall surface messages “hold up” in the 21st century and then provide criticism on them without ever having seen them acted out. Fun, valid criticism shall be the aim of this series, and a new stage play (one only; each from a different period in time) will be posted on the third Sunday of each month—hopefully. Again, I am really excited about the potential of this series. And for those who stick it out, I think it will be a very positive experience. First up is an oldie but goodie. Shades of this particular work can be seen in just about every love story today, sometimes to the detriment of the author who doesn’t want to draw any comparisons to it. If not this Sunday—as this is the first one and I’m just getting this series off the ground—then definitely on Monday I will be posting my inaugural series review of Romeo and Juliet.




Monologue anyone?


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