Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

Bad, dead theatre

I could feel it coming. I had been finding it harder and harder to say what I really felt about certain shows. I found myself being kinder than usual. I started feeling bad for performers. I started softening a harsh response. And then I went to see a show that I found so dismal, dreary and dead I couldn’t actually write a blog post about it at all. I had found the production completely ill considered, deadly boring, unsuccessfully designed, hideously under-interpreted, base and crass, and a waste of my (not very) precious time. I was angry when I left. I felt like bits of tatty wool were about to be pulled over audiences’ eyes. As I walked back to my car I decided that I would keep my big mouth shut on this one and simmer in my own stew of disgust.

And now I am paying for it, because then I started seeing the ‘good things’ that other people were saying about this dismal production. I thought I was going crazy. I started feeling like I was on another planet. How was this possible? Surely not? But, yes. From what I could gather, certain bloggers and critics seemed to sort-of like this show. Others were obviously co-opted into saying good things. And I started boiling in my own bitter juices. This was an injustice. People were going to go off to this show on the recommendation of others and they would be (secretly, if not publicly) horrified that this crap could be considered to be good.

So, I have made a new year’s resolution about this. I am going to say what I feel, every single time. I will end up making people cross. I will offend certain performers and piss off directors. But, honestly, I am missing the whole point of doing this if I don’t put it out there, good, bad and completely hideous.

PS. For those of you who wondered what I thought about the unmentionable show before you decided to go and see it, I promise to honour your readership better and more from now on.

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6 Comments

  1. Hmm. A case of the early chirp getting the worm?

  2. Peter Terry

    Still not 100% convinced that you as a practitioner – writer, director, actress etc – should be critting other people’s shows. Not doubting your integrity, but it is very easily perceived as a clash of interests.

  3. Ag, but everybody crits everybody else’s shows. They just do it over a glass of wine at the opening (and then to everyone they see at a social gathering thereafter). It still reaches large numbers of ears, it’s just not something they’d be willing to put their name to in public.

    I think what really gets people’s goat is that Megan doesn’t mince her words. And that can sting.

  4. megan

    You know Peter, I raise you practitioner and call it totally independently self-employed. I haven’t been ‘paid’ a salary to perform, write plays, direct or crit, in the last 15 or so years. Every last bit of theatre I have done has been self-generated and created. So, yes, I know what it feels like, but it’s not the same. I occasionally share your concerns because this is a tiny, clique-y, up-its-arse little community, but really, the idea that it’s a paying, professional career? Naa. I have a deep suspicion you know exactly what I mean. And our tiny, stingy, fickle theatre audience deserves fair warning, and encouragement wherever possible. Truth be told, I would hang up this self-proclaimed position in a heartbeat if I didn’t feel like it was so important.

  5. Peter Terry

    You make some good points. Are you SURE you haven’t got an intelligent ghost writer? Ja, I still think of SA as having a thriving theatre industry. Silly moi. The problem is, though, that if you grant yourself this right, every other Tom Dick and poenskop can do the same, and (reductio ad absurdum) there can just end up being a plethora of meaningless bitchslaps and catfights. That said, show me the “critics’ who have the credentials to do it properly / professionally.

  6. megan

    Every Tom, Dick and arselicker is doing it anyway, regardless of whether I have my slightly better researched, more independent bitch slap.

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