Overall, I have been really pleased with the production that I'm currently in. The actors all get along really well, and for the first time (ever, I think), I am 100% confident in everybody's work onstage. For those of you who have done local theatre, I'm sure you've experienced those cringe-worthy moments when you know something is bad, but it is just never going to be fixed and you have to deal with it. I don't have that with this play. Not for one single second. The acting is strong, the set is wonderful, the direction is good. It all works. And I'm pretty harsh when it comes to shows I'm personally involved with, so saying that means alot. This week brought us our reviews and adjudication, and for the first time, I felt a bit deflated.
The problem is that reviews for local theatre aren't, technically, actual reviews. They're more like re-caps. They tell the readers a lot of what the play is about, hoping to lure people to the theatre I guess, but they don't say much about what is actually good or bad about a production. They focus on the positive, which is good, but gives you the feeling that they say nice things about every production. And that, of course, makes their opinion less...valuable? trustworthy? Who knows. And they're not necessarily written by people who know anything about theatre.
For example, our first review stated "The performances from the actors in this movie were raw and honest.", which is very complimentary - if we were in the movie. Gwyneth Paltrow and Anthony Hopkins were certainly good, but we are not them. Was that a typo? Or did she think she was seeing a movie? Or did she just rent the movie and pretend she saw the play??
Our second review was also positive, written by a blogger who usually reviews professional productions, but was somehow convinced to see our play. She definitely liked the show, but made a point of saying how it was unusual for "community" theatre to be so good. Kind of a back-handed compliment, no?
The third review was much better than it's predecessors, but made no mention of ME at all (except for the fact that I was, in fact, in the production), so OF COURSE I am all bitter and don't like it eventhough it was quite positive. Nyah. I'm so mature.
On Sunday, we had our adjudication for the ACT-CO awards. The winners in this festival remount the show in May and compete against other winning productions from different sectors. We were all incredibly nervous. I, for one, haven't done an adjudication since high school, and wasn't particularly keen on it. I'm incredibly proud of this show, and I have no desire for anyone to tell me all the things that are wrong with it.
All in all, it didn't go how I thought it would. The adjudicator seemed to like it, but criticized the pacing in the first act especially. He thought it was too fast and didn't give the actors time to react "in real time". I see his point - we were nervous and perhaps going a bit fast in Act 1 - but the work was all there, and so were the reactions. With a wordy play like this one, the pacing is crucial - go too slowly and it dies right there on the stage. I also thought he would have a more "bird's eye viewpoint" of the production. Talking with him was much like getting director's notes after a rehearsal. Instead of saying "I like how you reacted to that line", I thought it would be more of a "I liked/didn't like how you portrayed that character." Overall, I left the adjudication feeling uneasy, and even unsure if he liked it.
One week left. No matter what happens, I will be very sad when this show is over.