On Being Accosted At The End Of A Play

Every now and again, a director, producer or cast member of a theatre production which I am reviewing will accost me as I’m exiting the theatre after seeing the show to ask me what I thought of it. This is a tricky situation. Even if I enjoyed myself immensely, it’s hard to formulate a response instantly. And if I didn’t have a great time, it’s even harder to say it straight out to someone who’s been working so hard to get the show up and running.

I suppose the easiest way to nip the issue in the bud is to use the stock answer: “You can read all about it when my review comes out next week.” But this somehow seems a bit smug. Also, frankly, I never remember to use it when I’m caught on the spot.

The other day, a director not only asked me what I thought of the show as I was making my exit, but also added — when he didn’t quite catch my noncommittal answer to his question — “Oh good, it’ll be great to get a plug this late in the run.” Sheesh.

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  1. Peet says

    Always an awkward situation, dealing with quote-hungry artists after a show. My generic response is a bit smug, but always true: I have no idea what I really think of the experience until I am at my computer. Lots of times I’ve loved something and then started writing and discovered I liked it a lot less than I thought I did. The opposite, too. Things I was lukewarm about at the time have a delayed impact.

  2. says

    You know, I think I solved this quandary.
    Whenever I am similarly accosted, I turn to my guest (or commandeer the nearest stranger) and say, “You know, we were just talking about how much we liked your play/performance.”
    The key words being “how much.” … Because that would also cover, you know, “not at all.” Hahaha …

  3. Marc Overton says

    Alicia de Larrocha told a wonderful story about this situation. Having (reluctantly) accompanied a teaching colleague to a recital by one of the colleague’s students (something Miss de Larrocha always avoided when she could), she found herself facing the poor, terrified student backstage. Grasping his hand with a firm but friendly shake, she said, “Your playing has left me speechless!”