A few years ago I was talking with a friend about a theater review he’d written for a local paper. We both had hated the performance, but his printed comments were, ah…, “nuanced”. It took some reading between to discover that the production had problems.
Full of righteous black-and-white perspective, I aggressively asked my friend why he didn’t more clearly warn people off that dog. He told me that people who knew his writing would understand the meaning of the lukewarm comments. He said that he didn’t need to offend the actors involved in the play who were friends and potential sources of future information.
Not having my friend’s social encumbrances I have enjoyed self-righteously savaging plays and actors when they “deserved” it. (See past Ozdachs reviews.)
Unfortunately, this summer’s trip to Ashland this year started me down the slippery slope to obliqueness and accommodation. Our first night in town, friends Hollis and Mary Pat invited us to dinner at their house with four Oregon Shakespeare actors. Each was a bright, interesting, and talented young person.
Then friend Patty invited her college friend — and OSF star — to breakfast at the B&B. That same evening I spent a half hour talking with him at a party. Turns out he is another very bright person with great social awareness who is fun to be around.
Now how can I go the keyboard and freely write comments on the productions I see?
Of course, all the five actors I mentioned gave first-rate performances in the shows I saw them in. When I start posting my comments on those productions, my unrestrained praise and muted complains stem from the true quality of the acting.