Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Complacent Theater

Here's a controversial topic for all the artists out there, but having seen two terrible shows in a row (and I mean awful, near unredeemable works) by the names of 27 Heaven and From Riverdale to Riverhead. I refuse to review these formally; as I've said before, I am not interested in bashing theater, although I will be blogging my gut responses, as usual, at Show Showdown. Anyway, here's the topic.

Whatever happened to booing in the theater? It seems to me that we've become complacent audiences, applauding even shows we don't like, and stifling our urges to walk out in an angry fuss. It's ironic that we show so much support considering how careless we've become with our cellphones and cellophane. Or perhaps our nonchalance is just a heightened form of reckless viewing.

Now, I'm not advocating disrupting the show, even though theater was born amongst rowdy crowds. On behalf of the one person who may be enjoying a horrible work, I would not begrudge someone their own pleasure, even if I find it perverse. However, I'd like to be able to do more at a curtain call than not applaud. But not only is it uncouth to boo, but such actions would actually villainize me and cast my critiques into doubt. Hell, even blogging a personal opinion sometimes draws down the wrath of the outside world. So why has making your private thoughts public--which is what a play does--become so unacceptable?

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