Monday, March 31, 2014

Mondays are Dark

CarbonellWe’re not actually dark tonight, as the 38th Annual Carbonell Awards Ceremony will be held at the centrally located Broward Center for the Performing Arts.  It's tight races all around for this year's nominees, with Slow Burn’s first eligible show making it a real horse race.


Once again, the South Florida Theatre League is hosting an after party at Club Revolution, just a couple of blocks from the Broward Center.  Admission is free to League members and Carbonell Awards ticket holders.

We hope to see you there at 7pm!

And now, here’s your Monday reading list.


Speaking of the Carbonells

Well, DUH, of course we’re going to lead with Carbonell stories!  Florida Theater On Stage reports that inexplicably, the George Abbott Award is going to the founder of Seraphic Fire, a vocal group that presents absolutely no plays whatsoever.  Don’t ask us, we don’t get it, either, and no explanation is given in this article.  But we get a good rundown on the rest of the leading contenders in many categories.


Mae the Gay Icon

South Florida Gay News fills us in on Dirty Blonde, the biographical play about Mae West opening this week at The Plaza Theatre


Miami Round Up

The Miami Herald reports that The Arsht Center is mounting another interactive spectacle, and Mad Cat Theater is going to Superfreakout at the South Beach Comedy Festival on Wednesday with their original piece Gerald Ford Superfreak.


But No Horses or Sleighs

Broadway World reports that Broward Stage Door Theatre will be opening its production of Over The River And Through The Woods this week. 

On A Somber Note

Last night it was reported that Stage Door Theatre  co-founder and executive producer David Torres has died. Our sympathies go out to his family and co-workers.



Reallusion interviews animator/puppeteer/actor/director/composer/writer Paul Louis as it featured artist this week.  Louis, who just closed Spamalot at Actors’ Playhouse last night, is one of the co-creators of Real Men Sing Show Tunes And Play With Puppets.


An Unusual Benefit

The Student Press Law Center takes a look at the struggle that students engaged in when Trumbull High School tried to kill their production of Rent: School Edition.

The students’ campaign gained national attention, and those involved have been praised for their mature, levelheaded approach in response to initial opposition. Mark has also since been honored with an inaugural “DLDF Defender Award” from the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund for her role in reinstating the show.

These students fought and won: the show debuted last week.  But the struggle is far from over, as Playbill reports that Earl Metzler,  the superintendent of Schools for Timberlane  Regional High school, has canceled their plans to do Sweeney Todd next year.

"I want an all-inclusive performance that the community can enjoy… We were uncomfortable with the script and agreed that this was not the right time or place for the performance… We felt there were parts in there that just weren't acceptable. We shared that with the group and decided to look for a performance which was more suited for the community."

It should be noted that this is the school edition,  which means that it has been adapted to facilitate productions at high schools.  Censorship will never die as long as small-minded people are put in positions of responsibility beyond their competence.


Speaking of Benefits

Butts In Seats weighs in on the subject of whether or not you’ll benefit from paying to boost your Facebook posts.  It should be noted that Facebook has changed the way postings are spread around, which means that you may not see all the updates from The Scene because we won’t pay them to do it.  And why should we?  We have no product to sell; we’re performing a public service.

So if you do see a post from The Scene, please share it with your friends; you’re not helping us, you’re helping the show mentioned in the post.  And it could be your show.


Reviewing the Reviewers

No, The Scene isn’t the only outlet that reviews the quality of reviews being given: The Minnesota Playlist periodically looks at it, too.

One question I keep coming back to while writing these columns: who exactly is the intended audience for mainstream criticism? Are theater reviews meant for casual theatergoers trying to pick a show for a night on the town? Regular patrons interested in the nuances of a particular production? Theater people looking for useful feedback on their performances?

In this case, Ira Brooker looks at a review of Othello that doesn’t seem to have a clear purpose.

All of this gives me the impression of a critic who simply wished he was watching a different production than the one on stage. Papatola comes off as thoroughly unenthused about the traditional staging, getting excited only over McClinton's occasional dabs of unorthodoxy. But as uninspired as he seems to be, he can't find specific fault with much.

And that is a cardinal sin of reviewing: the reviewer must set aside their expectations or desires, and critique only what is offered to them.   Sure, maybe it would be fun to reverse genders in GUYS AND DOLLS, but you can’t blame the director for not doing that.  Or maybe the play is a tired old warhorse, but you knew that walking in the door.

So don’t second-guess the director or actor by telling them what choices the should have made: merely observe what their choices were, and how their choices worked.  And ideally, the criticism should not only inform the audience about the validity of the work, but also help the artists understand how their choices are being perceived.

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