The critical response space is a strange place to occupy, part audience, part provocateur, part mirror and part magnifying space.
This project came out of an awareness of the complete lack of reviewers in Brisbane. Particularly for arts made by independents, in small spaces, with provocative themes or challenging subject materials. Most of the few channels that are available are staid, conservative, paid advertorials, reworked brochure copy, lacking insight and depth, or fiercly guarded by gatekeepers and huge professional PR firms.
Basically, we couldn’t get any writers to come to our gigs.
Well. That’s part of the story.
Critical response shines a light on themes, on thoughts, on the message of a playwright or a creative. It holds them to account, and questions the wherefore, the why, it considers the framework the art sits in, and if it has been true to its forefathers, if it has creatively destroyed a useless hierarchy, if it has been a true homage to its heroes, if it got the audience where it needed to go.
Critical response is not about being an asshole. Critique is about questioning, reflecting, digesting, regurgitating. It’s about analyzing the grist of a play. Any production of a certain standard is likely to have nice costumes and adequate sound. We are not here to tell you the stage looked pretty. We want to talk about the wider world, and how this art fits into an intersectional experience. We want to critique the premise and articulation. We want to look inwards and reflect fully. We want to throw that back against the collective paradigm, and take the pulse of the zeitgeist.
Not all our writers agree with each other. Not all our writers agree with themselves. Not all our writers are adept in every performing artform. Not all our writers have the same tastes, proclivities, talents or faves.
But they all live, breathe, and chew on the stage and its denizens.
Image credit: Fiarrah Harraif