Happy Birthday to Me (or Blow Out the Candles, Make a Wish)

The New Ottawa Critics is celebrating its 5th birthday this week, so this Dark Day Monday Tuesday, we’re here to tell you a little bit more about our plans for the upcoming year and why we need your help more than ever. Over the last 5 years, the New Ottawa Critics and I have been … Continue reading Happy Birthday to Me (or Blow Out the Candles, Make a Wish)

The Collaborative Audience

It was brought to my attention last week that I was talking about theatre criticism as a collaboration between theatre artist, critic, and spectator without really exploring what that means. I touch on the relationships between these types of people a bit in the article on The Separation of Art and Critic, but I think it might … Continue reading The Collaborative Audience

“26 lettres à danser” isn’t just your simple ABC’s

-Benjamin Nossik (10 years old) This is a show to teach kids the alphabet or… is it? At first, you might think it’s just a simple show. Well, it’s not. Just as at Once Upon a Kingdom Theatre we do a lot of exercise that might look a bit weird but they are actually very … Continue reading “26 lettres à danser” isn’t just your simple ABC’s

The Critic is Dead (Long Live The Critic)

    The critics panel last week at undercurrents Festival had some interesting discussion about the future of arts journalism. I am going to take this opportunity to further flesh out some of the emerging trends that were discussed at the conclusion of the panel. Principally, I want to talk about our long-form brand of criticism, … Continue reading The Critic is Dead (Long Live The Critic)

Where We Live (New Ottawa Critics in Residence)

   I’ve been talking for weeks now about what the critical landscape currently looks like in this country, what the New Ottawa Critics thinks it’s trying to accomplish, and the theory behind that. Now it’s time to talk a bit about how exactly we are hoping to address some of these issues. So this edition … Continue reading Where We Live (New Ottawa Critics in Residence)

The Elephant Girls Return at undercurrents

    I first saw Margo MacDonald’s hit one-woman show, The Elephant Girls, at its sold out run at Ottawa Fringe in 2015. The script hasn’t changed in very substantial ways since then – the story is still fascinating, and the voice(s) that tell it are unique in my experience – so many of the … Continue reading The Elephant Girls Return at undercurrents

Approval Creep (or why I won’t say everything is amazing)

This week I am going to talk about a rather insidious process I am calling ‘approval creep.’ We’ve touched on something like this before, in a discussion about star ratings, but this part of the conversation is a more constructive (rather than deconstructive) look at the way our particular brand of criticism works (and doesn’t … Continue reading Approval Creep (or why I won’t say everything is amazing)

Freedom to Engage

I’ve already written about the ecosystem that has been making (theatre) writers into bloggers. A lot of people complain about this transition, and fall into the timeless trap of glorifying the place criticism has historically occupied. I believe the transition to online criticism actually marks an important opportunity for us all to redefine and re-democratize … Continue reading Freedom to Engage

Idealism in the Theatre (Or: The Role of the Critic)

Critics are positioned in a middle ground between the artist and audience, each of whom perceive the critic (in their ideal form) to be in uniquely service to their interests. From the perspective of theatre creators, the critic is part of their publicity machine. We write reviews principally for the purpose of steering audiences towards … Continue reading Idealism in the Theatre (Or: The Role of the Critic)