Articles

Better Living through Criticism

“Everyone in this world has someone else whom he can look down on,” wrote George Orwell in 1946, “and I must say, from experience of both trades, that the book reviewer is better off than the film critic, who cannot even do his work at home.” Now, of...

McNulty on why we do what we (should) do

Sometimes we post essays about criticism in the right-hand column. But this piece by Charles McNulty for the LA Times earrents the front page.  Charles McNulty Nowadays, he says, “criticism isn’t always readily distinguishable from the salesmanship and hype that have corrupted not just our politics but the arts,...

Couple of Critical Controversies

Sarasota’s Asolo Rep was slapped down by Brian Friel for making significant changes in “Philadelphia, Here I Come,” as reported by Jay Handelman (Sarasota Herald-Tribune). In “Who Thinks It’s OK to ‘Improve’ Playwrights’ Work?,” Howard Sherman points out the issues are legal as well as moral and aesthetic. In the debate over...

Controversies: text changes and play to movie.

Sarasota’s Asolo Rep was slapped down by Brian Friel for making significant changes in “Philadelphia, Here I Come,” as reported by Jay Handelman (Sarasota Herald-Tribune). In “Who Thinks It’s OK to ‘Improve’ Playwrights’ Work?,” Howard Sherman points out the issues are legal as well as moral and aesthetic. In the debate over...

Four dozen top ten lists for 2013

Click below for an index to some (hardly all) “bests” or “top ten” theater lists for 2013, not from just NYC but also Albany, Atlanta, the Berkshires, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Connecticut, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, St. Louis, San...

ATCA’s Daumier on new book

A new book on theater criticism, Refereeing the Muses by Bob Abelman and Creryl Kushner, has the good taste to use ATCA’s old friend on its cover. The 1865 caricature “Promenade of an Influential Critic” by Honore Daumier has served as ATCA’s official logo since 1974. Appearances so dramatically...

HowlRound week on criticism

For HowlRound’s week on criticism, go here. Some of the contributions:Wendy Rosenfield on really wanting to be a critic and what criticism’s for, here.Jason Zinoman on the critic’s passion, here.Rob Weinert-Kendt on the personal drive to criticism, here.John Moore on the economics of reviewing as newspapers abandon the field, here. ...

Lahr steps down at New Yorker

After 20 years, John Lahr is stepping down as chief theater critic for the New Yorker, where he won the George Jean Nathan Award in 1994 (he had previously won it in 1969 for reviews in the Evergreen Review and Village Voice). Living mainly in London, he...

How (Not?) to Be a Critic

There’s been a spate of recent comments on criticism as chastisement and/or advertising (mainly of books, but we see the connections). For links to pieces by Richard Brody (newyorker.com), Jacob Silverman (slate.com), David Streitfield (nytimes.com), J. Robert Lennon (slate.com) and Dwight Garner (nytimes.com), click below. Here’s a teaser from Brody’s “How to Be a Critic”: It’s...

Promising Developments at ASF’s Southern Writers Project

A trio of promising works resulted in a stimulating Festival of New Plays for the Southern Writers’ Project the weekend of May 16. Showing patience, Alabama Shakespeare Festival officials offered revised readings of the latest versions of two plays unveiled in 2009. Both Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s “The Flagmaker of Market Street”...