I wish I’d seen La La Land a year ago. It would have made that moment at the end of the Academy Awards ceremony, when Faye Dunaway accidentally announced it had won Best Picture and the production team got up on stage and started making speeches and then it turned out Moonlight had actually won, so much sweeter.
What I really want out of a review is “I saw this, I felt this, and THIS IS WHY.” Criticism needs to be more than reporting, more than a PR opportunity for the theater group, more than pap for the incurious masses.
I considered, “What am I trying to accomplish?” As a performer, director, producer or technical theater craftsman, my goal is to surprise and delight an audience, to make people feel and/or think. Any of those. As a writer, my goal is to surprise and delight an audience, to make people feel and/or think. The intention is the same, whether I make the show or write about it.
Criticism is my favorite kind of writing. Somebody wrote that criticism is taste + experience. I have both of those, so of course I’m going to contribute to the form. Stick with me, fasten your seatbelts, or at least cover the next round. I’m not quitting.
Awesome use of superlatives; also, wisely differentiates between “opinion” and “official” pronouncements. The writer clearly has anger issues but apologizes, a welcome folksy touch. Concludes with hope, something too many critics neglect (although said hope might arguably be more clearly communicated with the interrogative possessive pronoun “whose;” still, it is unlikely the target audience will be confused.)
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