Saturday, December 30, 2006

So, why "Restricted View"?

I'm glad you asked!

The "view" part is obvious: Blogs are for opinions, and when it comes to theatre (not to mention many other topics that may or may not find their way into this forum), I have plenty of opinions. But why "restricted"?

First of all, whether a critic admits it or not, he or she is restricted in his or her outlook at any given time by his personal history, her valid or arbitrary biases, his personal acquaintances, her urgent need to use the restroom, etc. "Legitimate" critics are expected to do their best to overcome such impediments to objectivity, or at least to write as if they didn't exist, but one nice thing about the blogosphere is that a blogger's idiosyncrasies are more or less the point. Deep down, I think I'm more intimidated than most by the nagging feeling that I might not know what I'm talking about, and the consequent impulse to withhold judgment until I've researched a subject as exhaustively as possible. But this is the cyber age, and research is so last century! So I'm jumping into the blogging thing with an admission that I might get things wrong. I might revise an opinion when more information comes to light. And if you think I'm full of crap, I trust you will let me know. I'm here to learn! Well, okay, I'm primarily here to sound off. But I wouldn't mind learning a little something along the way. And I'm always up for a lively discussion where theatre is involved.

The second way in which I'm "restricted" is financial. Theatre in general is a pretty expensive habit (just ask the people who are trying to make a living doing it!), and Broadway, in particular, costs too damn much. It's bad for the art, and it's certainly bad for the would-be patrons. If I had my druthers -- or unlimited financial resources -- I would see everything that opens. Instead, I can only afford to see a handful of Broadway's offerings (and a slightly more generous handful of whatever's happening Off-Broadway), and even then, obtaining a ticket usually involves much fretting and/or finagling on my part. Sometimes it means settling for a suboptimal seat ("restricted view" isn't just a clever title, folks), even though I'm usually sorry when I do, because few shows are directed to give the folks in the cheap seats their money's worth. It's all very discouraging, really: it's a bigger sacrifice than it ought to be for me to see any show, and that means, if I don't like it, I'm that much more put out, and that much more hesitant to spend the money on the next show that comes along.

I'm hanging in there, because I love theatre, even though being a fan can seem like more trouble than it's worth. Because when it's good, it's really, really good, and when I'm sitting in a theatre and everything comes together, even just for a moment, I am transported back to the enthusiastic days of my adolescence, when I used to listen obsessively to original cast recordings and squint at the tiny photos in the CD jacket and imagine what it would be like to be there, experiencing it live. I like to get back in touch with that geeky part of myself from time to time, whatever it costs me to get there. Thus, Restricted View: a place for me to work out my complicated feelings for the theatre. Thanks for coming by.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Mollie, does your site have a tip jar? Or in this case, a "Help me see more shows' jar?

It might even be possible for people to request that you see certain shows, because they're intrigued but want to make sure they're good before plunking down the cold, hard.

Anyway, excelsior!