Indianapolis, Indiana, Theater Reviews
~Lisa Gauthier Mitchison~
Why the middle row?
When it comes to covering local theater, I try to find the happy medium between paying audience member and critic. These two perspectives are quite different. The audience members want to be entertained and get their money’s worth. This part is pretty easy. Did I like it? Did I laugh? Cry? Was it a good story? Did the people around me have good reactions?
The critic has to look more, well, critically, at what is happening on stage and also has to look past the plot of a play and into the play’s presentation (actors and directors should not be held responsible for a flawed script). What was the director’s vision? Was the lighting distracting? Are the costumes appropriate for the setting and period? Did the actors fully embody their characters? How was the blocking and/or choreography? If it’s a musical, how were the numbers? Does the ticket price accurately reflect what the audience can expect? (Yes, if a theater’s tickets are $50 as opposed to $15, I will have higher expectations of it, as well as if it’s an Equity house or not.) These are just some of the questions I ask myself when I write.
I have been reviewing local theater since 1998, at first for NUVO Newsweekly. I took a semi-hiatus in 2009 when I had my son, and during my time as a new mom, my theater coverage was limited — but I was still out there, covering shows for publication when time allowed. In 2015, I initiated independent show reviews on this website to help fill the gap of coverage where many publications work against space and budget constraints.
I try my best to walk the line between audience and performers, and I take it seriously. But I also have a lot of fun. I hope you do too!
~Lisa Gauthier Mitchison
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