Sunday, December 10, 2017

For those who hate theatre

We all talk about how great the theatre is. I'm writing for the theatre. I love it. But in the interest of fairness, I present the opposing view. From British comedienne Sara Pascoe:

13 comments :

Matt said...

I don’t agree with her! But I still found it funny.

Paul G said...

Did this clip have a laugh track? I found myself distracted by the audience's odd reaction. Or is that how British audiences respond to comedy: LAUGH and STOP. LAUGH and STOP. Perhaps they think it rude to laugh over the next line...

Covarr said...

At first I was set to get annoyed. With good theatre, you get invested enough in the story that the rest of it, the time off your phone, etc. doesn't matter. But then I remembered not all theatre is good. Heck, not even most of it. For every DEAR EVAN HANSEN or NOISES OFF or OUR TOWN or SWEENEY TODD, there's a dozen complete rubbish scripts filled with pretentious navel gazing and . If that's someone's experience with theater, I could never blame anyone for not enjoying it.

I recently assistant directed a show called WEEKEND COMEDY, and as great as our whole cast and crew was to work with, I kept finding myself frustrated at just how much the dialogue walked in circles around itself before getting where it was going. Every single scene was a good five to ten minutes longer than it needed to be. Plot-progressing lines would be reached, passed on by with more yammering, and then returned to, and all that extra stuff didn't add anything as far as character or story. I was totally unsurprised when it pulled in small audiences, and I was frankly confused why this script even got selected for the season.

I also recently had the displeasure of reading a script called IT'S JUST SEX, at our artistic director's request. The title is fitting. The characters talk about sex, have sex, and then talk about sex. That's the whole plot. Their personalities are defined almost entirely in relation to their views on sex. I'm fairly certain the author wrote it to justify cheating on his wife. At best the show is boring and one-dimensional, and at worst it's preachy. If I were an audience member, this would be enough to keep me away from a theatre for years. Obviously I told the artistic director as much, and we're probably not going to produce it.

Ken, I haven't had the opportunity to see any of your plays (something something small town nowhere near LA), but based on your television work it's probably safe to assume they're pretty good. And we need that. Maybe if the theatre world had more well-written comedies, there would be less Sara Pascoes to hate on it.

@Paul G: Recorded stand up shows like this are certain to have a live audience laughing at her jokes. Often the auditorium will be mic'd in addition to the performer's microphone so the laugh can be captured separately; this is really helpful for editing. My guess is that's what happened here, and the editor got a little overzealous with muting the audience whenever Pascoe talked. Not a bad idea in theory, but the execution needs to be more subtle for it not to come across as unnatural.

Mike Bloodworth said...

I've never really liked theater (re) although, I'm more involved with it now than I have been in the past. To me theatre(er) is like what's left at "last call." Not your FIRST choice, but its that or nothing.

Bruce said...

There is nothing better than good theatre. There is nothing worse than bad theatre.

Donald Benson said...

There are plays and there are plays.

There are also the conditions. What can be painful is sitting in a small and/or underpopulated theater where the actors are aware of your personal reactions (or lack of same). I'm not really a smiler even when having a swell time, so I end up giving a performance of my own for the actors who frequently let their eyes sweep over the audience. This is especially an issue when the cast includes people I know. Luckily, most of the shows I've been seeing lately are professionals and I'm back far enough not to affect their game.

Max Clarke said...


Delightful.

Funniest use of "Stockholm Syndrome" ever, although I can't recall the second-best or third-best.



TheWayToSanJose said...

Norm MacDonald visits the theater

Honest Ed said...

It's worth bearing in mind that, as well as being a reasonably successful comedian in the UK, Pascoe is also an actor.

Though I have no idea if she's done any theatre.

ODJennings said...

She feels about theater like I feel about hockey.

The first time I went to a hockey game I sat watching the clock count down until halftime, and I decided that maybe, just maybe, I could tough it out till the end of the game. Then, as the clock expired and I put my jacket on to leave, my host told me that this was some weird SECOND halftime and the game was only 2/3rds over. I thought I was gonna die.

Of course, that was before I was a parent. As someone who just sat through a 2 hour and 40 minute grade school Christmas Pageant (CATS was only 2:20 and that includes the intermission!) I could now do the whole NHL Playoffs without flinching, because I've seen Hell, and it's grade schoolers in homemade Christmas costumes.

Roger Owen Green said...

I saw Finding Neverland yesterday in Schenectady, featuring John Davidson (yes, THAT guy). I cried, it was so touching.
On the other hand, I saw the late Larry Linville don Victorian dress and play Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest with Capital Repertory Company in Albany in the fall of 1996. The production was pretty good, but he, I must say, was not.

Steve said...

@Covarr: Hopefully your artistic director isn't looking for an justification to cheat on his wife

Covarr said...

@Steve: No, our artistic director is a single woman. She actually didn't like the script herself, but she wanted a younger opinion because we've been trying to bring in a wider demographic, and she wasn't sure if she might just be the wrong audience for it.