Reviewers say the darndest things

14 Oct

Over the last 8 years I’ve been reviewed as a writer and director over 200 times. The vast majority of responses to my work have been very generous-spirited, and some of them have even been intelligent.

There have been exceptions. At times, I’ve been described as unimaginative, mean-spirited and self-indulgent. And I’ve been branded a coward, a racist, a misogynist and a homophobe.

(The last three accusations all came in a single review. Admittedly, it was the work that was so labeled, not me; but when you’re the writer and director of the production such a distinction seems somewhat irrelevant.)

So what do you do when you get a review like that?

I complain.

Of the derogatory reviews listed above, only once did I fail to take the reviewer to task – the time I was accused of cowardice. Insert own joke here.

Each of my complaints was successful, in that the reviewer was willing to discuss the issue in a public forum, or in the case of the alleged racism, misogyny and homophobia, the review was withdrawn.

I want to make clear that I haven’t complained every time I received a less than glowing review. Who’s got the time?

What I do want to suggest is, that every time I elicited the type of response I’m discussing here (that is, a personal moral attack), it was perfectly obvious to me that the play had hit home. It had angered someone. That was never all that happened in the audience; each of those plays received glowing reviews from other critics.

But that anger? Was I pleased about it?

No.

And yes.

Paul Gilchrist

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3 Responses to “Reviewers say the darndest things”

  1. G~ October 14, 2016 at 3:38 am #

    You know there are trolls and there are jealous people. Which have nothing better to do than to waste people’s time with their vitriol. Ignore is always a good option?

  2. G~ October 14, 2016 at 6:16 am #

    I’d left a comment and it’s gone. No idea what happened. Now what did I say? Umm, something about ignoring the trolls and the immature jealousies that abound. Although feedback is always a good thing, it is only good if it is constructive and assistive in some way.

    • veronicakaye October 16, 2016 at 10:22 pm #

      Hey G, I just hadn’t approved the comment yet. (I only get on the computer every couple of days) And I agree, in terms of vitriol, sometimes a dignified silence is the best response!

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