The thing that I have found most challenging in our Theatre Criticism course is the subject of being “politically correct”.

We’ve come across it many times with the shows we’ve been to see, and still the lines of what can be said and what should not are blurry. Each of the four shows tackled this issue. But it seemed that because of the nature of each specific show, I came out feeling a different way towards the term “PC”.

For instance, “Avenue Q” is a show that embraces the taboos. All the things that we have been taught to avoid and speak about respectfully, “Avenue Q” takes advantage of. And gets away with it. When I left the Gielgud theatre it was as if I had a completely new scope on how I felt about issues that I would normally handle with care. For the night, “Avenue Q” had told me that it was ok to laugh at things that so many of us take, (in the eyes of Avenue Q) too seriously. But Happy-go-Lucky musicals are made to entertain, even the riskier ones.

I was brought pummeling back down to earth when we then went to see “Our Class” at the National Theatre. A holocaust play based in Poland that reigned from pre to post world war two. I found it so challenging to criticise this play with care, especially since I absolutely hated it! How could I slag off a play about the holocaust? It seemed that because it was based on real, tragic events, it justified itself to deserve more stars than I thought it was worth. I thought for a long time on what was the correct thing to do. My stars were changing from two to four within an hour. There is no ‘correct’ way of saying that you don’t want to see a holocaust play. That you don’t particularly feel like being depressed this evening. It is even harder to form words saying that you didn’t enjoy a holocaust play, that you in fact found it boring, when its sensitive subject was meant to move and engage you. When plays are written about important things that you are MEANT to care about, how do you express that, in this case, with this particular show; you didn’t? How do you say kindly that you were so bored by the long spiel of droning acting, that it made you think of nothing but your watch, and the slow movements of its hands? – It’s all rocky ground that has you treading on eggshells and changing your mind on how much you can say without offending people.

Enron was a safer play. No issues with rasism, and even thought Enron too is based on a real event that ruined millions of lives, it isn’t as globally delicate as “Our Class”.  – For me however, I found the thought of writing about the scene based on 9/11 very uncomfortable. Luckily there was no need for me to include it in my review, but if I had had too I would have found myself fumbling over words. The tragedy of 9/11 is still a current issue and ache for many people. It has me wondering how the America audience is going to respond when Enron is taken over to the States.

I didn’t have the chance to see the forth play, “Category B” but from our debates in class and some research I’ve done, it seems that the element of race was something difficult to discuss in reviews. “Category B” was part of the “Not black and white” trilogy of plays, written by black artists and performed by black and Asian performers. I can’t really comment on my views towards this play, as I haven’t seen it.

When it comes to “correct” the lines are very blurry. Everyone seems to have different views on how much can be said or how sensitively issues should be addressed. I think it’s a comfort line that we have to find in ourselves, balancing getting across the point that we are trying to make whilst understanding its sensitive background.

Word count –  686


A Fear of Blogging

We all have embarrassing facts about ourselves. Some of us snore. Others may bite their nails or secretly enjoy musical theatre, even though they truly feel it is beneath them.

Me? I fear blogging.

Shock, horror, gasp, cry. Blogging! How embarrassing to be afraid to blog. How silly, I say to myself, to fear a blank page. To fear my own typed thoughts. It’s just a page of opinions! Opinions on silly things that I enjoy, like plays, theatre, cinema, movies!

I had procrastinated long enough. I had let my blogging fear get the best of me for too long. I sat and thought, fingers quivering over the keyboard. Why am I so scared to type? If it was a written essay to submit this would all be different. It would have a different meaning and I would write with a different intention. Perhaps its because its on the internet? Anyone can read my silly little blogs when they like. I am literally opening my mind up for scrutiny. Yet everyday on sites such as “facebook” I update my status, write messages, upload photos, videos and I can do it all without triple thinking my words and convincing myself to put it off till later.

At last I had come to a conclusion. It was a completely irrational fear. The only way over this hurdle was to simply do it. 500-700 words. That’s all. That’s about a page of writing. One review. I would just have to sit down with a topic and write. Here goes.

Melissa’s Calendar

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