Saturday, December 15, 2007

50 Thoughts on Theatrical Criticism: 1-5

I've been bitten by the list bug. Here's the first 5 -- on theatrical criticism.

1. The critic's responsibility is to ricochet intelligently and conscientiously between three distinct yet interrelated constituents: practitioners, readers/browsers, and the critics' conscience. Only the rarest of critics can interface with all three constituencies at once and with equal effectiveness, although that is the ideal.

2. In another sense, the critic speaks to the consumer (i.e., the ticket-buyer) with whom he or she may have no communion, or speaks to the artistic community, of which the critic is a part. Consumer-oriented criticism is fundamentally concerned with quantification. Aesthetic-oriented criticism is fundamentally concerned with qualification.

3. Critics teach. Critics also learn.

4. Critics evaluate the present and contextualizes it with the past. Ideally, critics synthesize past and present into expectations and proscriptions for the future.

5. Practitioners can make ideal aesthetic critics. Aesthetic critics do not necessarily make ideal practitioners.

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