The animosity that theatre practitioners feel towards theatre critics runs deep and is in no way a new phenomenon. Nor is the practice of an artist attempting to respond to this “adversary” in his art. As far back as 1663 Moliere wrote the creatively disguised titled short play called La Critique de l'école des femmes (which translated means Critique of the School for Wives), where Moliere basically tells his critics “you can hate on my play if you’d like but audiences love it… so shut up.”
I'll be honest, I've never written an article like this before. While we release annual rankings of who we feel offers the best theatre programs in the country, doing a list of the opposite just seems like an opening for all kinds of trouble.
However, when reading an article in the news the other day, I realized the perfect way to determine what schools to avoid if you want to major in theatre: The ones that won't value you.
Last year I sat in on an audition for an upcoming community theatre production of Oklahoma. I was friends with the director and he wanted some feedback on how they run their auditions and organize their talent pools.
As auditions began, something stood out to me. Depending on the role they were auditioning for, every man sang either "Kansas City" or "People Will Say We're in Love". Every woman who auditioned sang either "Out of My Dreams" or "The Farmer and the Cowman". There were even a couple of "I Can't Say No" and "Lonely Room" auditions thrown in as well.
A recent article about Green Room Etiquette on OnStage Blog took me back to all of the great times I’ve had in Green Rooms, and had me looking forward to all the great times I (hopefully) have ahead of me in them. I can picture the furniture, layout, and shade of green (or other color) of each Green Room in which I have spent a significant amount of time, as well as the faces of the people I shared them with (probably because they were made up in some distinctive way). When I first heard the term “Green Room,” it was in reference to a room the defining feature of which was that it was bright green. I didn’t know it had anything to do with theatre beyond my high school. Now I know better, and I know it was probably not green by accident, but because of theatrical tradition. I’ve also noticed that not all Green Rooms are green, and yet they all retain the color in their name. The name’s the thing, and so I went in search of the definitive origin of that name, and reader, I will tell you right now that there is none. If you keep reading, though, you will get to consider, as I did in my research, all of the wild reasons and theories that have been given based on centuries of theatre history.