Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Pillowman"

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note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Ronan Noone

A Critique of The Critics of "Pillowman"

Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2006 12:14:21 -0400
From: Ronan Noone
Subject: An opinion

The New Rep to give them their due have taken on a large straight play (The Pillowman) which comes to town with fine endorsements from New York and London, even Ed Seigel noted last year that it was better then Doubt, and still it comes to Boston and gets lacerated. I mean was London and New York wrong or are Boston reviewers becoming high-minded and indulgent. I can understand if it’s not a great review, but such a disconnect from so many excellent reviews in Europe and America - Is there a little vacuum at the moment? Because that would make sense.

Apart from Vineberg's (Boston Phoenix) plot spoiler, the play is condemned for having a first act that is 100 minutes long, so what, and yes I’m sure someone is writing a play about Martin Scorsese’s Taxidriver, I know they are making a movie about Mark Chapman, the review smacks of academic theatrical condescension - full of those high minded indulgent lines where you feel the reviewer is proud of his choice words regardless of their nastiness.

The Pillowman is not supposed to be a political play it is a play about the artist and the sacrifice to create the art, however tired that maybe, - the totalitarian regime is the conceit and that is the point.

It seems to me that with the recent firing of Bill Marx, the retiring of Ed Siegal, the fact that Terry Byrne reviews are competing with the classifieds in length - well, that there is not much gravitas left among the critic community at large at the moment. To be fair, the Globe is committed and kept Louise Kennedy busy this summer, but she still needs to put in her time in her new position to earn her readers.

In the meantime, I feel with the recent reviews of The Pillowman where Terry Byrne asked “What was the Point” or Will Stackman declared it ‘Pointless’ by way of Terry Byrne and Steve Vineberg’s Bloodsport review, - the question seems to me more of what is the point of putting a play on in Boston right now, not what is the point of a play.
Ronan Noone

"Pillowman" (6 September - 1 October)
Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, WATERTOWN MA
1 (617)923-8487

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide