A couple of weeks ago I ran across a hugely interesting essay called “Confessions of a Community Theater Critic.” The author, John Barry, covers amateur and semi-pro theater in Baltimore for the Baltimore City Paper, an alternative weekly, and his confessions were both amusing and on the mark:
This is not a gig for the weak of heart. It’s for the eternal optimist, the dead-end journalist who doesn’t believe in dead ends. It’s for the tolerant, the cheerful, the brave and gratuitously creative. It’s a job for someone who doesn’t have a lot to do on weekends.
Barry’s essay inspired me to write a “Sightings” column for tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal about the problem of what I call “appropriate standards.” How do you judge a low-budget performance, or one given by performers whose ambitions outstrip their skills? Do you let the critical chips fall where they may–or shorten your critical yardstick?
To find out, pick up a copy of the Saturday Journal and turn to the “Weekend Journal” section. I’m there. (Starting on Saturday, subscribers to the Online Journal can read my column by going here.)