My family has a fairly new blog (and it’s strictly for family business, which is why I don’t link to it from this blog). When the Washington Post review of Into the Woods was published, I provided a link to the article on the family blog so that my loved ones could access it easily. I was startled to discover later on that the Post practices what’s called “blog farming,” meaning that if you link to them, they’ll link back to you (“read what bloggers are saying about this article!”). Lesson learned. I won’t do that again.
What wasn’t okay was that some individual used the link to come onto my family’s blog to post a diatribe against Signature Theatre. Anonymously, of course (aren’t they always? Big tough talk but not enough courage to sign their names). I contacted my sister, who’s in charge of the blog – consequently, now you can’t post at the blog anonymously, and its contents are only available to its members.
But what bugged me the most was that the Anonymous Moron didn’t stop to think for a second that someone’s family blog was NOT the place to post their rantings about an unrelated subject. God knows there are other blogs which have discussed the show and where Anonymous Moron could have posted his/her venom. Did Anonymous Moron stop to think for a second that my family didn’t CARE what he/she thought about Signature Theatre? That perhaps their intruding on the blog was like crashing a family dinner? That maybe, just maybe, their actions were rude and inappropriate?
The issue arose again for me last night, when Signature hosted its Post-Show Discussion after Into the Woods. For those of you who aren’t familiar with a post-show discussion, it’s when the cast and other company members volunteer their time to discuss aspects of the show with those who’ve just seen it. Usually it’s a pleasant session with questions about interpretation, stage craft and the like.
Last night, however, a lot of people seemed to stay just to kvetch about the new building. Now granted, Signature is still working the bugs out of the space and there are problems, but how appropriate was it to use the post-show discussion to complain about dim lighting in the lobby? And I wonder if any of those that kept bitching about the acoustics and sight lines thought for a moment how their remarks affected the cast? We still have a month’s worth of performances to go. To get hammered over and over by complaints about aspects of the theatre that are out of our control doesn’t help us do our jobs. Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate to complain to a member of the house staff, or write a letter to the theatre’s management?
The upshot of the evening was that most of the cast sat there for an uncomfortable half hour while Eric Schaeffer (Signature’s Artistic Director) tried to field the complaints. I’m grateful to those audience members who tried to steer the conversation onto its intended course, but again I’m puzzled at why other individuals felt that they were entitled to use the post-show discussion as a forum for their issues with the building.
I’m not saying people aren’t entitled to their opinions, but for God’s sake, choose an appropriate time and place to voice them.
And be gutsy enough to sign your name.