Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Yesterday: opposite day at the New York Times!

...Judging from Neil Genzlinger's completely inaccurate and far too indulgent review of Theater by the Blind's A Midsummer Night's Dream. This was my favorite paragraph:
As in past productions by this company, it’s difficult to tell who in the cast is vision-impaired and who isn’t, which is part of the point. This is decent Shakespeare by any standard, all of the actors (under Ike Schambelan’s direction) handling the dialogue deftly.
Every single assertion is completely false! That's some solid work. It reminds me of when, in college, the campus newspaper would initiate its new editorial board by publishing a "humorous" issue full of inaccuracies. I can only assume that something similar is happening here, but aren't they worried that people might actually take them seriously? Ah, well, at least we happy few know the truth...


Anonymous said...

Wow. That was a really hostile review for a production that involves blind people doing, what you yourself would probably never do. ESPECIALLY if you were blind. I don't even imagine how bitter and cynical you'd be then.

I was the same production and boy you're really stretching. Shakespeare would have been proud because he was familiar with adversity, being a teenage parent, etc. If he knew one day Blind people would be putting on first class productions of his work, he would have been proud.

I'm a fan of Theater by the Blind, and always love their work. I know i'm not alone.

As for the Times critic: I read his review, and yours, and he's spot on. I guess that's why he's writing for the New York Times and you're trashing theatre companies who devote their time to good.

Mollie said...

I agree that Shakespeare would probably have been pleased to know that blind (and otherwise disabled) people would someday put on first-class productions of his work. I hope to see such a production one of these days. But this one wasn't it.

As should be clear from reading my review (linked above), my quarrels with the production had nothing to do with the "blind" part of the theatre's mission, and everything to do with basic professional standards. I'm glad you enjoyed the production more than I did, Anonymous, but what I saw was miles from "first class," or even "decent." As I said in my review, "The mission of Theater by the Blind -- to create opportunities for and increase awareness of visually-impaired and otherwise disabled artists -- is a vital one, and if I could think of a single positive thing to say about this production, I would gladly say it." But I don't think I, or anyone, should expect less from performers just because they're visually impaired.