I was very flattered when Rolando Teco, whose new blog Extra Criticum is pretty damn cool and has a lot of potential, asked me to participate in an experiment in which his various writers and contributors would ask a bunch of questions of me as a critic. Well, the sixth installment is up; there will be seven parts (and a bonus). And who knows who I’ll alienate this time!
Here’s the tease:
Q: I hear a lot of complaining from my peers about the current state of criticism in general and theatre criticism specifically. Namely, there are those who feel that critics have become “consumer advisers” rather than critics…. My question is: Does any of this ring true to you or do you think it’s just a lot of hot air?
A: I’m not sure when critics were more highly regarded-or at least I’m not sure by whom….if you examine the 13-year tenure of Frank Rich at the New York Times, I’d wager that more Broadway shows closed within the first two weeks of performances than during the tenure of Ben Brantley, who has been the chief drama critic for almost as long (12 years). You can assert that there were more crappy shows during Rich’s tenure than Brantley’s, or you can assert that the power Brantley wields is less than that of Rich….