Wednesday, March 08, 2006

You Want Better Acting? Write Better Criticism.

Johanna Droubay's print persona is tough to like. Her snarky review of the monologues at the PATA auditions seems only mean spirited. On the one hand, Portland actors may need to hear that they aren't as good as we think--in fact, I'm sure we need to hear it--but, on the other hand, the PATA generals aren't necessarily about turning in brilliant performances. They're generals, and as such, are about demonstrating basic competence (at least, that's what the PATA member directors themselves said, at their January round table.) They're also not open to the public, which doesn't know that actors face a different challenge in auditions than in full-on performance. Droubay doesn't seem to know this, either (or care), notwithstanding her attempt to purchase authority with a winking anecdote about her own former, high school auditions.

Drama criticism in Portland continues to be as amateurish and self-indulgent as much of the acting on which it comments. Once again, that's too bad. Sigh. I, too wish Portland actors were up to the mark of Seattle or San Francisco. I wish our critics were, as well.


Anonymous said...

Who writes a critique of an AUDITION? That's just weird.


Trish Egan & Harold Phillips said...

It's Portland, Jason... it's a weird weird town.

I actually had a different take on Doubray's piece - it seemed to me that she was saying that she expected the generals to yield worse actors than she actually saw. My response to her: "I'll try to suck more next time, but only if you'll get up and do your Raisin in the Sun monolgue for all of us."

Anonymous said...

Mr. Millstone,
While actors deserve to be criticized your often stated comments on the quality of actors in Portland, i.e. being amateurish, is getting to be a drag. I've seen theatre in Seattle, SF and NYC and the only difference I seem to notice is that the pool of actors is larger not necessarily better. There are dozens of quality professional actors in Portland ~ so give P-Town some credit.

As for Ms. Droubay, commenting on her only gives her more credit than she deserves. Her critiques are ignorant and wreak of unfamiliarity with theatre/literature in general. When Steffen Silvis was with WW, his reviews may have been too personal and pompous, but at least he knew what he was talking about. WW would be better off not accepting her reviews.

David said...

Your point is well taken. I will, indeed, cut back on what are perhaps gratuitous digs at the locals, especially since I'm in no position to throw stones, anyways.

I appreciate your even tone, by the way. I'll try harder to emulate it, myself.


Anonymous said...

Oh how the grass is always greener. For years, the majority of the theatre industry tried to push Silvis out the door. Now with him gone, they seem to have a new puppy to put outside. How kingly of you to rub her nose in what ever she produces.

And could this city be more hypocritical? We want attention, we want attention, we want attention - but only the right kind of attention.