Transparency, I guess, is no longer of interest to the Independent Theater Bloggers Association. Today I received an email from a representative of the group, to which I belong (even as I’m developing an alternative organization — to which ITBA “members,” if there are such things, are invited), stating that any blogger who has seen a Fringe show this year should kindly email their answers to the following two questions:
How many Fringe shows did you attend this year?
Which one(s), if any, would you consider extraordinary?
In terms of the productions those bloggers mention, the email says: “consider it your vote.”
What? You mean, there’s no criteria? No thumbnail way of discerning critic-bloggers? No way of checking who really saw what? Just a kind of helter-skelter willy-nilly “name a title” roulette wheel?
Some weeks ago, said representative told me that the ITBA was dedicated to creating a valid and respectable awards system of some kind. Wouldn’t that be great? A committee of self-selecting blogger-critics devoted to developing an honor that would confer increased validity to the theatrosphere? What we have right now, I guess, is a single-blogger effort that isn’t transparent or, for all I know, honest.
I want to support the Fringe as much as the next person, having been adjudicating and judging since the first festival. But good grief! How does an ad hoc honor help? Who’s the Wizard behind the ITBA curtain? Who’s telling the truth and who is lying? Transparency, I guess, is no longer of interest to the Independent Theater Bloggers Association.