Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Style Weekly Review of "Doctor Faustus"

Style has been very kind to us this year, with a full-page picture of Grant as Scrooge, a full-page picture and review of Julius Caesar, very positive reviews of both shows, and now another full page for Doctor Faustus. Heck, the cover even says "Doctor Faustus" at the top (must have been a slow news week). And the reviewer clearly liked the show.

But--and I really don't like to nitpick when a reviewer liked our work, especially when the writer has been kind to us in the past--it's a little frustrating that the piece spends more words on Christopher Marlowe's friendship with Sir Walter Raleigh than it does on the acting. And while I'm very grateful for the contributions of Angie Pirko and Tony Lombard to the show, both directors had more than a little to do with the props and the set dressing, and neither is credited with having done, well, anything. It's not an ego thing (I have plenty of that with or without reviews), it's about a theatre review that doesn't have the slightest idea what a stage manager does.

So now I'm in the opposite position of David Timberline's "People Hate Critics" thing a few months ago. I don't want to complain when I'm getting a good review. But is it too much to ask that a theatre reviewer not credit the stage manager with major aesthetic directorial choices? Trust me, Tony had more than enough work to do stage managing, and he did contribute ideas during the process. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's much more likely that the directors made those choices, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a professional theatre reviewer to know that.

Here's the link: A Two-Man Cast of Thousands. Judge for yourself.

Oh, I'm gonna get in trouble.

12 Comments:

  • At 2/15/2007 6:08 PM , Blogger Joey Fanelli said...

    It seems like more of a history paper than a theatre review. And, come on, there is no way that Marlowe and Shakespeare are one in the same.

     
  • At 2/16/2007 9:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Oh that's funny! This reminds me of our other long time critic in Richmond, who loved theatre with a passion and traveled the world to see good theatre...but never really understood how a theatre production came together...so he would but the blame or the glory in the wrong place quite a bit. And it would always make me giggle!

     
  • At 2/16/2007 9:10 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    I didn't even mention that the review spells Graham Birce's last name two different ways in a single paragraph.

     
  • At 2/16/2007 10:55 AM , Anonymous Art Decko said...

    Most of what she says is fairly ambiguous. I'll bet she didn't like the show and didn't know what else to write.

     
  • At 2/16/2007 2:37 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    No, I've seen this writer freely write about things she didn't like. And I've read theatre reviews by her that were insightful and intelligent. She praises the show's clarity, the actors' stamina, and she says that the "trick works...well on the audience." So it's clear that she liked the show, and seems to be recommending that people see it. And the caption for the picture is absolutely priceless.

    Maybe I should just shut up and be thankful. This has to be the first time in the history of drama a director has ever complained about a good review.

     
  • At 2/16/2007 2:41 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    And where the heck is David Timberline when you need him?! I want to read his thoughts on the subject! Dude hasn't updated his blog since January 19! I hope nothing's wrong.

     
  • At 2/20/2007 3:41 PM , Anonymous Richmond Newsie said...

    Still kind of vague, don't you think? Clarity, stamina and tricks working? Joseph Papp always used to say that when people praise a show's clarity, you know you've failed.

     
  • At 2/20/2007 4:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Yeah, I am with richmond newsie and art decko (nice names BTW)on this one...but the photo alone should get some folks in the door. WILD!

     
  • At 2/20/2007 4:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Andrew are you or any of the Richmond Shakespeare folks going to see Richard III in DC before it closes?

     
  • At 2/21/2007 6:37 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    It's very hard to get out to see anything right now, much less all the way up in D.C. Doctor Faustus runs straight into Twelfth Night, which leads strainght into the Festival Young Company, The Tempest, and 1 Henry IV, so I'm really not sure when I'm going to get to see anything in town. I even have a couple gift certificates for the Shakespeare Theatre that I got as a gift last year... Have you seen it?

     
  • At 2/21/2007 6:38 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    Only four shows of Faustus left, by the way...

     
  • At 2/22/2007 3:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I plan on seeing it sometime before it closes...so I shall report in!

     

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