Thursday, June 28, 2007

They Don't Know

I'm tired tonight. The Spike Lee phone calls of the last two days truly exhausted me. But I want to take this post to defend the Roundabout's selection of Old Acquaintance for their season.

A bunch of industry people have told me that they believe Roundabout should be doing edgier, riskier work, revivals that stand for something or whatever. I don't personally agree with this argument. I often disagree with Roundabout's particular selections in a major way, but I support a theater company's right to do whatever types of things they want. I don't believe that just because they get government money means they need to do plays that comment on the public welfare. I see the other side of this argument. I know that we need theater companies that take real risks. I just don't think we need every theater company to do that. (Plus, Roundabout has done risky things in the past, but, even if they hadn't, I'd still stand behind the choice to just do old chestnuts.)

I would rather see Old Acquaintance five more times than sit through even just the first act of MTC's acclaimed production of Translations again. Same for Constant Wife or Prelude to a Kiss (though I might have to kill Annie Parisse after time two of that one). I realize that Translations is a more "important" work and I'm happy MTC did it, but I didn't like it and I don't think every theater company needs to do complete seasons of Translations-like productions.

I JUST realized that I previously defended Roundabout's selection of Cabaret on this blog and I don't want it to come off that I'm really pro-Roundabout (because I'm not particularly). I just think there are things that should be attacked and things that it's stupid to criticize. I mean, I heard someone coming out of the American Airlines saying: "Well, it was enjoyable, but it's really not the type of thing that they should be doing." What does that even mean? Who sets those guidelines? I just don't get it. There are a lot of things I think are idiotic to revive, but that is because of the individual selection based on its own merits, not because I have some kind of over-arching belief about what should be done by a particular theater.


David Cote said...

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. (Sorry to break the Comments silence here...) If you could take Old Acquaintance five more times before half of the lovely revival of Translations, then we're talking a profound difference in taste here. I mean, profound. You liked it, fine, but I don't think anyone considers this revival to be timely, or needed, or particularly well executed. Why isn't Roundabout reviving classics which are actually, y'know, classics? And since the org gets public funding, the least it can do is stick is little program note in the Playbill explaining why this play was chosen. Besides the cynical, safe, boring reasons: It's comfort food for our senior citizen subscribers.

carajoy said...

I personally don't think Translations should be done in English, so, no offense to that production, but I found it impossible to sit through.

That being said, as for the rest, I didn't LOVE Old Acquaintance. I found it enjoyable, but I knew its faults. But that's not the point. The point is, Roundabout should be able to do whatever shows they want without explaining it. Who is to say what is an important play to do? I just think every theater company should be let alone to do what they think is right. I often don't agree with Roundabout's choices or the choices of many other theater companies, but I believe choosing is their right.