Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Bright Spots"

Here’s a bizarre circle of psychological torment if I’ve ever seen it:

Bastard child of theatre complains how they never get any reviewers out to see his show; they keep begging the big boy reviewers that normally only do grown up theatre to see one of their bastard shows; finally, one of the big boy reviewers, who does not generally like bastard children, comes out and tells them that they are indeed a bastard child; bastard child then has to deal with the fact that they have been told by they are a bastard child by someone who dislikes bastards.

The result of this cycle of torment is something like this:

“Comedy troupe Robot vs. Dinosaur crosses Roger Corman's 1957 drive-in potboiler, The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent, with Marat/Sade, Peter Weiss's 1963 play about a group of lunatics--led by the Marquis de Sade--who put on their own show about the French Revolution. Despite occasional bright spots, the production doesn't follow through on its premise: The characters of the inmate-actors are never developed, so we're left with a limp send-up of a cheesy old movie whose main attraction was its cast of scantily clad, soaking wet babes. --Albert Williams $15”

That would be the Chicago Reader.

Our fearless leader Joe takes some umbrage at the characterization of our show on his own blog. I will link to it because Joe charitable refers to me as ‘multi-talented’ and I’m a sucker for anything that might remotely stroke my ego.

Since I have a blog (albeit a scarcely used one) I now feel compelled to share my thoughts about aforementioned review:


It actually doesn’t bother me at all; I think it’s a fair review.

I think it’s a fair review when you consider that the reviewer was Albert Williams, who “won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for his theater reviews in the Reader and is a two-time winner of the Peter Lisagor Award for outstanding arts criticism. He has written for the Reader since 1985, and his work is also published in the New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, American Theatre, Entertainment Weekly, and The Advocate. He is also a Senior Lecturer in the Theater Department of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago. A 2003 inductee into the City of Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, he is listed in Who's Who in America 2010. He is also co-editor of the book Nothing Personal: Chronicles of Chicago's LGBTQ Community, 1977-1997, a collection of essays by Jon-Henri Damski, published in 2009 by Firetrap Press."

I took a quick look at what he reviews, and they are generally shows done at such no-name places as ‘Goodman Theatre’ and ‘Theater Wit’ and ‘Chicago Dramatist’ and ‘Victory Gardens.’

In short, this is a guy who sees the best, brightest, most theatrical Theatre with a capital ‘T’ in the entire city. I don’t believe he is accustomed to going out at 10:30 at night to see a quirky part-movie, part-play, part-sketch comedy, part-musical Frankenstein monster like our humble little show. I won’t pretend to know anything about his tastes in theatre, but if I had to guess I would guess that we’re not it.

And so if you value such things as character development, then yeah. This maybe isn’t the show for you. I will admit that.

I have a pet theory about our little group, Robot vs Dinosaur, and reviewers. I don’t know that theatre publications know who to send. We’re not an improv group and we’re not quite a traditional sketch group, so they don't send their comedy people, but we don’t do Eugene O’Neill either. Our shows tend to hover in a weird gray area that’s different from your typical sketch show but isn’t a full cohesive traditional play.

Yeah, I don’t know dudes. I’m just glad we made him admit there were bright spots.

About the only word in the review with which I disagree is the characterization as a “limp” show.

Ain’t nothing limp about this show.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LIMP? I don't think I would have howled so much if it was so limp. Our group enjoyed every crazy minute of the show. The next day we YouTubed the Viking Women and laughed doubly hard at how on spot the spoof was. Thanks to all of you for an enjoyable show.