Bitchy Actress

New York, Acting, and Attitude: Believe These Stories Or Don't - But I Betcha They're True.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Hooray for Obama! And in Other News, Mark Peikert is an Ass

First off, let me start by saying that I'm thrilled that Obama clinched the presidency. Let's hope we can get some of that change he's talking about as soon as possible. His speech was amazing, and I'm thrilled that we don't have to deal with another four years of mindless bullshit flung at us like monkeys in a zoo. I respect the Republicans who are more sensible and have finally thrown their hands up in protest at their own President - but none of those assholes ran, and none would have given us enough change that we needed. I think Obama's speech - which referred to everyone, including gays and straights, was so beautiful. I just hope he is as good as the packaging looks.

In other news, I recently saw a play, Harm's Way, by Shem Bitterman, produced by Circus Theatricals, due to a recommendation from a friend. It was an amazing piece that dealt with the problems that war has on both those over there and the people back here at home...and had some of the best acting I've seen in off-bdwy theatre in a while. The script could have used some more development; I daresay a third act could have been implemented. Hell, if I can sit through a three hour play of Sheppard, I'll do it as long as the acting is great. And the same applies with this play. However, that said, I think the show was fine.

Backstage, however, disagrees. This has been an ongoing trend for reviewers of Backstage...they never really look at the acting (because none of them really seem to know anything about it) and talk roses and sunshine about plays that are really painful to have to sit through...and trash productions that have some actual value and merit. I've dealt with people over at Backstage for over 20 years...I used to sit in meetings with family and name actors (back when you could take the ad editor out for drinks and discuss business) and it used to be a paper with some integrity shall I put it? Brains? Actual understanding of the arts? Now it is simply a rag where to find auditions, get headshots, and where a few people I know (and almost regret knowing them) post fake auditions to get some sex from women who seem so eager to lift their skirt for a 5 minute part in a short film that will never see the light of day (that's a whole other rant). Oh, yeah, and mixed in there somewhere are these words that are thrown together by somewhat culturally retarded individuals like the author of the review listed above, who obviously was so busy trying to find holes in play that he missed all the good acting that was going on stage. The one actor that he did mention was the one actor that I felt, although she did a great job, had the most problems up there. One wonders if the author of the review simply had it out for the playwright (or the director, Steve Zuckerman)...or the company itself.

Who knows. In this day and age, when The Actor's Studio has kissed the proverbial ass of the dollar bill and let standards go out the window, allowing actors to become members who graduated their "program" although they probably don't even know who Tennessee Williams is; or when reviewers who have no idea what the hell they are talking about but happen to have the right connections and can continue writing trash at a paper that has become as much of an institution of the antithesis of what it's supposed to be about - and in doing so, turn potential audience members away from catching some great theatre.

Great. Perhaps they can go watch a reality tv show or something.

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  • At 5:22 PM, Blogger Pamelab52 said…

    Thank you for this. We just got reviewed by Mr. Peikert, and you have pegged just about everything I thought about his review.
    "Tibet Does Not Exist" is a timely play devoted to a dialectic between Eastern and Western thought, it is not pure entertainment and requires some thought to fully appreciate. Mt. Peikert's review wasn't all wrong, but his lack of generosity and mean-spiritedness seemed completely unnecessary.

  • At 12:14 PM, Blogger Bitchy Actress said…

    Well, I write it like I see it. Glad perhaps you found some comfort.

    I'm sorry that yet another show gets a hard time from a writer who is too busy thinking how witty he can sound in his review - during the show - instead of taking time to think and absorb a play being reviewed.

    Some theatre requires an audience to go on a journey...and people who are "reviewers" and are actually even paid as such should be willing to go on a journey (although in this day and age you just need a heartbeat to call yourself a reviewer, not necessarily any knowledge about what you are reviewing, unfortunately). If that journey requires too much or if the acting sucks or if the show overall is just tedious, then fine. But criticism on any level should be dished out on merit, and explained...not thrown in the face like scalding water, with no rhyme nor reason. Or because the leading actress reminds you of someone who you broke up with twenty years ago (which happens more often in reviews than we know).

    Good luck with your show.


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