Finally an answer! I guess it’s true…if you put your question out into the world, you will get an answer if you are paying attention.
Let me backtrack a little. A few weeks back, I recounted a situation that I must figure out. As someone who is trying to help promote the local arts scene, I found it incredibly difficult to only talk about the “good” things for events and not so much about why I dislike some things or events because I was worried that the event wouldn’t get an audience. I felt that by only speaking of the good things, I may praise an event that most people may not like thus tarnishing any possible future reputation that I may have. However, if I criticize an event, would the organizer of that event ever want to allow me access to pictures of their future works. I understand the concept of constructive criticism and accept it whole heartedly, but what if you see something that isn’t really that good, like Step Up for example? Fantastic dancing, but everything else was meh. So that was my dilemma.
I recently began to read my copy of Theatre Bay Area Magazine and read the executive director’s note. Brad Erickson wrote a brilliant piece that I found was exactly what I needed. The note was about excellence and promoting it throughout our community and not being so nice about everything. I took this article with a grain of salt. Being on both sides of the the fence, I know that I would like to know how to make myself a better performer through critique and such but at the same time I know that opening myself to that negativity will stay with me for a very very long time. As one who is talking about performances, I feel I owe it to the people reading about it an honest account of what I felt and thought while being at that particular event.
So it turns out that yes, I should make comments about the things that I dislike in a performance but to do it in a way that would not be viewed as mean. If I were an actor having something possibly upsetting being written about me, I would first love to be told about it upfront before it hits print. I think that would be my personal choice. When writing about an event, I wonder if that still applies? Argh, clearly some more time and thought needs to be put into this issue. However, I am elated that I have confirmation that I am not being too hard if I were to give an honest critique regarding future works. We shall see how this plays out my friends, we shall see.
In the final paragraph, Mr. Erickson offered up this wonderful piece of imagery “…the etymology of the word “assess” is “to sit with” or “sit alongside.” What a beautiful image for this effort: to sit beside one another, supporting each other in our individual efforts to reach greater excellence.”
If you were about to receive a bad review, how would you like to find out? How would you handle receiving criticism of your work? How do you deal with negative comments?
I know I just shot a machine gun style barrage of questions at you, but honestly how would you answer them?