I'm getting tired of being known for this imaginary negative attitude I supposedly have towards art. A lot of people I talk to ask for my opinion on theatre, books, and music, and when they receive my honest opinion they wail about how I "always look for the negative things" in everything. Since I'll be reviewing a lot of theatre for fun in the next year, I just want to clarify that that isn't what I do.
It's true I criticise a lot of things, but that's not out of spite or because I purposely look for the negative aspects in something. When I criticise, I don't criticise because of antipathy to someone or anything uselessly childish like that - what kind of person would decide to dislike someone and just trash them and their work? I always attempt to find the great aspects of shows because let's face it - not enjoying aspects of art, including pieces of theatre, an actor's portrayal of a character, or a style of music is extremely tiring and unpleasant. Why would anyone on this earth bother picking on someone just for the sake of it?
I may have an obscure taste in music, but when it comes down to art (theatre in particular) I know exactly what to expect from a good performance. I enjoy seeing a well-rounded performance with the appropriate input from the actors to connect with the characters, a well crafted sound-scape complimented by a good lighting design, and compelling story to keep me engaged for the entire duration. Honestly, I wish that was the case with every show I see. But, sadly and unavoidably, not all the theatre I see in my life is going to be up to that standard. It's not just random dislike I've developed for certain shows, it's because I personally don't feel fulfilled or awed by the production. Don't forget that when you read my blog, you are reading my thoughts and opinions on something I've experienced. Throwing praise at art that doesn't deserve it is utterly counter-productive because it's just providing a huge ego-stroke to those who don't deserve it.
If you don't write candidly about the pieces, places, and companies that aren't doing a good job by creating horrendous art, when you write with praise about the places that are, you're not going to have any credibility. In my experience, and providing it has some reasoning, people are impressed and refreshed when they receive honest feedback as it gives them a chance to examine their work and create something that's even better. Everything within the creative industries gets defined in relation to each other. By being brutally honest when it's needed about places that aren't serving customers well, you're actually doing a favour to all those creatives that do serve their customers properly - because your praise of them will have some meaning.