Thursday, June 23, 2011

PRAGMATIC: Understanding Failure

If you're going to say that your failure in creating a work has to do with massive forces beyond your control (like, say, Twitter), I think it's incumbent on you to explain how it affected you and no one else.

See, it turns out that Book of Mormon. War Horse, Mamma Mia!, How To Succeed in Business without Really Trying, and everything else in large-sized commercial or non-commercial theater in New York also had to deal with Twitter and instant feedback. And somehow they didn't become institutional masterpieces in the concept of failure.

Oh, and by the way, "apply[ing] an avant-garde aesthetic in a commercial arena" was ALSO not Julie Taymor's mistake. It was about as avant garde as Cirque du Soleil. Hey, it turns out Cirque du Soleil can sell pretty well!

Understanding why you fail is just as important as understanding why you succeed. And if you want to posit something outside your production (whether it be critics, audiences, or the Internet), you'd better come up with a reason why your explanation does not apply to everyone else subject to those outside forces.

(P.S. I do kind of like this vignette though:
Recently, in London, the Guardian ran a feature about a theatre blogger who was giving her opinion of the play she was watching at the intermission of a National Theatre production. In their dressing rooms, actors were reading an appraisal of their performances while they were in the middle of them. One actor actually came out front and introduced himself to the blogger.

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