Earlier this year I took a Travel Writing Class at George Brown. Our instructor told us that our job was to report, not to offer our rather inexperienced opinions. There seems to be a fine line between just the facts and your experience of what happens.
He said it doesn’t matter if you hate all-inclusive resorts, if you are the only one sulking at the pool among hundreds of people that are having the time of their lives, then you have to take those peoples experiences into account. You can’t just condemn the resort because it’s not your thing.
This is simple enough in concept but harder in practice. As a part of my gig at Mooney On Theatre I have been reviewing Fringe shows. I went to a show last night called Slingers -the musical.
Truth be told, I loved the show. I was jetlagged and lacking sleep, and did not want to think. I also have a soft spot for musicals as cheesy as they are. When I was searching for photos online today I came across the EYE WEEKLY and NOW reviews who condemned the piece as worthless (one star or N in each case).
I agreed with everything they said in those reviews. The show was under-developed, and did not really go anywhere. But I still enjoyed it, as did the people around me. If I were the only person that had a great time last night, that would have been one thing. But the entire theatre laughed and stood up at the end. Yup the one-star show received a standing ovation. In addition more than a few readers very strongly disagreed with the reviews.
I agree that perhaps it could have been stronger in many ways. But is it wrong to enjoy something just because it’s funny or entertaining or must it adhere to certain standards to be worth anything? I’m not really too sure.
Those critics at the alt-weekly magazines know theatre inside out; they are experts. So why is there such a wide chasm between what they think and what less experienced people such as myself, or anyone sitting in that audience yesterday think?
What, in the end, makes a piece good or bad – in any art form?