Sep 7, 2007

I Think Ringo Starr put it best when he said...

Just noticed that I have been criminally lax in updating the coterie of fellow bloggers I have rather tweely called 'The Little People' and so thought it best I use a whole post to draw your attention to the additions as recompense. Though, as Ian Shuttleworth has sortofkindof identified in the comments section of Chris Goode's post (more on this I half-promise, in a later post once my eyes have sunk even further down towards my navel) this theatrical corner of the internet being the giant no-name-tags-necessary electronic thought-orgy it is, you probably know these people already or, in fact, actually are them, so really this is more a means of apology than any concerted attempt to engage the theoretical (and frequently slipping unnoticed into fictional) unaffiliated reader.

Amongst them is Andrew Haydon - wordsmith, trendsetter and bastion of good taste that he is. Andrew's been on somewhat of a hot streak of late, vomiting eloquent well-thought out commentary like the internet was going out of fashion. His piece on critical distance is particularly worth your while, thinking his way round the subject without recourse to the fairly crass but faintly endearing never-give-up-never-surrender polemicising that seems to have become my stock-in-trade.

However, Haydon quotes from Robert Hewison (who, wikipedia informs me is the author of Footlights!: A hundred years of Cambridge comedy - there's a factlet for you...) one those weighty nuggets of wisdom that sounds like it was carved from the rock of ages - Remember that the play is the subject of the review, not you. Balls to that, I say. The subject of the review is both, and the curious, undefinable relationship between the two. Theatre can send us to sleep, it can summon a breathless, euphoric exhilaration, it can seem to be nothing very much at all and yet keep us awake that night. It can remind us of something that once happened or a story we once read or a play we once saw. None of these things happen on stage. Thank god for 'foregrounded subjectivity' - what on earth would we be able to write without it.

And, as Haydon seems to be suggesting, perhaps the New Theatre Establishment (a silly term that nonetheless delightfully summons in my mind images of Ian Shuttleworth, Lyn Gardner and Mark Shenton in a V-formation sporting matching wrestling uniforms) and their admirable and frequently brilliant engagement with this marvellous medium we call The Internets are a reflection of a changing critical landscape in which informality, personality and (yes) subjectivity have a burgeoning significance.

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