I wrote a bitterly scathing review that I’ve decided to remove. I got the opportunity to chat with some of the cast at the closing night party, and I realized with horror how I completely failed to acknowledge the incredible effort brought to the piece by the performers. The piece is obviously a labor of love, and it’s my own business not to enjoy it – not suitable for broadcast.
Posting negative reviews at Fringe is unnecessarily reductive. While anyone producing challenging works under the spirit of the festival – with an eye to developing fledgling works and building community – may well be excited to pour over specific critical analysis, some shows are presented as-is, without any critical feedback desired whatsoever. A company audacious enough to present such a piece is, most likely, highly disinterested in the adversarial thoughts of its audience. If one believes in the quality of their work to such the commendable extent that a most vociferous detractor cannot retard the show’s meteoric rise to acclaim, the feeble attempts of such detractors may be recorded simply amongst the bevy of other extenuating circumstances any truly great piece endures before it arrives at greatness.
And should the worst occur and runaway success never manifests, well, nobody needs to be on the front line saying “I told you so;” it’s just not Fringey.
Speaking to my point throughout Fringe: Fringe is the microcosm of Los Angeles Theatre. I’m beginning to question criticism in general for productions that have no abiding interest to take part in elevated discourse about their offerings.
I would posit the indelibility of the onus affecting Los Angeles theatre from beyond the shining shell of our emerald city may be intrinsically tied to our inability to accept the divide between hard work and quality work, but that’s far outside the scope of this medium.
So to the hempen home-spuns swaggering away from the freshly expired Fringe, I offer an apology for not recognizing your hard work. Rude mechanicals have been staging pieces in earnest only to be jeered at by their snidely pernicious audiences for thousands of years. Far be it from me to make one tedious brief an unwarranted ass when we should be celebrating the delightful, daily abridgements of masques and dances that chiefly populated the festival.