Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Where have I been?

That's what folks have been asking me - and the answer puts me in a bit of a quandary (or at least some people will think it does). I've been serving as dramaturg to the current Zeitgeist Stage Company production of Valhalla, by Paul Rudnick, which opens Friday. The blog I've been running for the production is www.valhallaturgy.blogspot.com.

Does this compromise me fatally as a critic? I don't think so - although yes, you should see Valhalla, as it's going to be fun (and the costumes alone are worth the price of admission). But that's all I'm going to say about it. More to the point, does this mean I'll be unable to fairly appraise other local productions? Again, I'd argue no - and point out that other local critics have served as dramaturgs for various productions, while many more have connections or relationships with some theatrical organization or another. And to be blunt, I simply have no interest in fluffing Zeitgeist's productions and damning other people's; I'm interested in analyzing theater, not merely promoting it (although yes, I do often promote it, because I love it - a strange habit of mine people like Bill Marx will never understand).

As for the future - I am directing part of Zeitgeist's upcoming participation in Suzan-Lori Parks's "365 Days/365 Plays" project, but this is a small, two-performance affair. After that, I don't know - but I'd definitely like to get back to directing (or even serve some production as dramaturg again). My commitment to this blog - and to criticism in general - may change (if I'm directing steadily, I simply won't have time to do both). I feel, to be honest, that if I give up reviewing, I'll be doing Boston a disservice; conceited little critic that I am, I feel there's simply no one writing at the depth or the length that I provide. On the other hand, I'm a damn good director, too, and in the end, I'd rather do theater than review it.

So in the short run, I will be back to reviewing regularly after this weekend. As for the long run, stay tuned.