Reviewing

This term I am taking the only compulsory module on my course – Theatre Reviewing. It’s a class I was looking forward to because we go to see a play every week, sometimes more than one, for free. I thought I would enjoy the class, I thought it would be similar to writing reviews for this blog, something I often enjoy but I would get feedback on my writing and hopefully improve a bit. It didn’t work out that way.

The first show we saw was The Mother’s Arms. It was perfect because it was a show I would not have chosen to see myself but one I thoroughly enjoyed. It was funny and joyous and very, very Irish. I loved it. And yet when I sat down to write down the review I had no idea what to say. I was completely intimidated by the idea that I might be asked to read my review out loud in class. I didn’t know where to start or what to focus on or even if I had anything vaguely useful to say. I was second guessing myself every two lines, I no longer trusted my own taste or opinions. I had to write to a word limit, something I don’t even think about when I’m writing here – I just write until I have said all I need to say. (This is one of the wonderful things about being your own editor and publisher!) It took me a really long time to write that review and the process hasn’t really got any easier.

One of the most difficult reviews to write was for the GUMS’s production of Spring Awakening. Two of my classmates were in the cast and I hadn’t read a review in class so I knew I would have to read this one! I felt like I couldn’t mentioned my classmates in the review because I didn’t feel like I could be objective about their performances. They were both excellent but I didn’t know if I just thought that because they were my friends! We also have a pretty quick turn-over on our reviews. We generally see the show on Tuesday and have to have our reviews ready for class on Thursday morning. I am often still struggling to finish the review on Thursday morning.

I am learning a lot in the class and hopefully my writing is improving but I still prefer writing here! We saw Fishamble‘s Silent last term. I loved it but I didn’t write about it for class. I am saving it to write about here! (It’s in the Peacock in June – go see it!)

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