There are two types of people who read play reviews: those who want to see if the reviewer agrees with them and those who want to decide if the play is worth seeing.
Reviews are important. As the “Paper of Fun,” we want to encourage our readers to go forth and enjoy good recreation, good entertainment and good art. If a play is not good, we are obligated to tell our readers this. They may still decide to go, but it is a decision they will make with a good foundation of information.
This is why I have always chosen my theatre reviewers with care. I refuse to send in an untrained writer to evaluate the work and the passion of over a dozen people.
It is a dirty secret in my business that it is easier to write a bad review than a good one; and furthermore, a bad review will get talked about more than a good one.
Our readership is already way up there with the big boys, so we don’t need to shock people. But we do have this covenant with you to provide good, accurate information.
And we need to find a way to make the assessment of plays more interactive and more inclusive.
First, we need a professional theatre reviewer; second, we need to encourage respectful dialogue with readers by creating a forum.
I am very pleased with myself in having taken care of that first step in finding a professional theatre reviewer: Jerome Stueart is a friend of mine and has contributed to What’s Up Yukon in the past, but I have always just considered him a gifted writer and professor of literature. As fortune would have it, one of his degrees is in theatre.
Jerome understands plays: he has written plays; he has dramaturged others; he has directed and even acted in them.
And, best of all, he loves watching a good play.
I feel very confident sending him to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Guild Hall. I know he will serve you, the reader, very well. And I know he will treat the good people of that production fairly and professionally.
Now here’s the deal: he may not like it, and he will tell you so and he will tell you why. You, on the other hand, may like it and decide that he is wrong.
However, Jerome will be consistent in his likes and dislikes (being the professional that he is), so you can judge the merits of a play through that filter (it’s a bit more nuanced than “If Jerome hates it, I will love it”, but it’s just as useful).
Now, a theatre reviewer should encourage discussion and not provide the final word. So we invite you, the reader, to our new forum. Read Jerome’s reviews on our website, old.whatsupyukon.com, and take the opportunity to respond to his reviews. Do you agree or disagree? Do you want to add anything? Do you just want to congratulate the theatre company?
Just send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will place them on the website under Jerome’s review for others to read.
But, we won’t print any comment without a verifiable name, and we will print your name with your comment. Jerome puts his name on his review; you should do the same.
With our professional theatre reviewer and your considered thoughts, Yukon theatre will get the feedback it needs to improve and expand.
See Jerome’s review of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Page 2.