Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Just got back from a 12-hour day on the set for work. Quick updates before the next round of posts:
  • Anyone catch Peter Marks Sunday Arts Section article about the phenomenon that is Doubt? Don't know how you could miss it. Sigh. I'm really gearing up for this one, I promise. Maybe it'll fuse nicely with ...
  • Response to RennyRu, Hester, YS, H, and Trillum on the ongoing Monsterism discussion. I fear that the discussion is digging deeper than the founding fathers/mothers intended, but that's a good thing.
  • Jose Rivera's "36 Assumptions" essay from References to Salvidor Dali Make Me Hot will be posted shortly -- thanks once again to Gregg Henry, Hester, and YS for locating that one.
  • And in all fairness: I'm going to spend a chunk of time gushing over some plays/playwrights I love. Might help guide the critique. Short of Hester's prescription to "shut up and write a damn play," which I have, I figure I should at least give equal shrift to the stuff I like. The grapes aren't sour, they just taste funny with all the DDT on them.
  • That last metaphor doesn't really work at all, but it sure sounds like the kind of punctuating turn-of-phrase with which bloggers typically end their petitions, right?


Amy said...

Give me a break! This article from Peter Marks makes me want to pull all the hair out of my head! I went to go see "Doubt" (Because of all the hype mind you, God I'm such a follower) and I couldn't have been more disapointed with it. It's like "Hi, lets spew out a play...::spews out play::... okay folks, here it is!" I honestly had a more fulfilling experience watching "War of the Worlds"...and THAT says a lot.

arcticactor said...


You actually saw "Doubt"? I've been holding off on further judgement mostly because, even though I think I can read a good play for stage-ability, I still wanted to know more about the live performance. Interesting. Well. It'll be comin' to town soon!

The reason I assumed it was a lousy production was because there was nothing about reading it that MADE me think I needed to see it staged. At all. Not just for critical purposes, but for the purpose of understanding the stage-pictures or images as prescribed in the text. Sadly, there are none. It's a string of conversations, with no prevailing imagery. The progression of scenes doesn't seem to advance any higher understanding other than the next perfunctory plot nugget. And the final "lesson" is so patently useless and unfulfilling (not to mention philosophically/rationally weak) that I got pretty much all I needed from just reading it. Like a parable. Not a play.

The producers are all so ga-ga about it because theatre has finally produced a story that's simple, unchallenging, and useless enough to attract the sitcom-watching crowd. The Pulitzer Prize committee is ga-ga about it because they confuse pith with profundity -- most likely out of a failure to understand the true form/medium that is live theatre (Nilo Cruz, who was an exception to the Pulitzer Pith Rule, still only won the award based on a reading of his text; not a viewing). And the publishing houses are ga-ga about it because the little Pulitzer seal on the cover means they can move on to Barnes&Noble/big-chain-bookstore distribution with a "reader's version" that's at 200% markup on the professional version. And why not? It reads well as a coffee-table conversation book -- and is just as disposable.


amy said...

Haha, this is all SOOOOO true!! I left the theatre thinking "Ok, lets go get a milkshake". There was nothing deep or meaningful about it AT ALL. I love the theatre that makes you want to just have a long conversation with your friends afterwards, or just a moment of thought with yourself...and there was NONE of that to be had. One of my friends described it as being "an episode of a television murder mystery, except with your favorite wiley detective wearing a habit" :D