Doing my first professional acting gig, I really only feared a few things: whether or not I hold hold my own with seasoned pros, remembering my lines, and my first review in LEO (the Louisville Eccentric Observer, the local alternative newspaper). One part has been no problem - couldn't work with more gracious people. I've flubbed up a line or two, but nothing too noticeable (but I can definitely tighten it up).
Just one thing left, and it came out this morning:
The LEO Review
As one of my fellow actors pointed out, this is a really good review overall for Alley Theater and for the show itself - it will put butts in the seats. However, for me personally, it kinda sucks.
Without trying to be a diva (seriously, I'm not), there's only one mention of me, and it's lifted straight from the press release. This means one of two things. The reviewer is lazy and/or an amateur writer - trust me, when I worked at a newspaper and wrote reviews, I did exactly this, and I was both at the time.
Or I was not good on stage, and the reviewer is being kind. He listed three actors as being "good", and deviates from the press release three times in delivering praise. The line that really gets me is "if certain actors step it up", because I have absolutely no idea what that even means. He mentions "comic opportunities are missed," but doesn't elaborate on any particular spots. How can I improve if not given an example of what to improve?
On a message forum (about the IT profession of all things), there was discussion on how to piss off an actor - an one of the things mentioned was being ignored. And that's the damn truth. I'll freely admit to my vanity - can't be an actor without it!
Being a manager for over a decade now, I've learned a really simple formula to make someone successful in their field when you're their mentor - praise the hell out of everything they do right, and tell them everything they do wrong with direction on how to fix it. The reviewer did neither for me, so I've got no chance of improving using his words.
Don't get me wrong - I'm very happy for everyone involved with this show for the good review. I just found it lacking, and wished the reviewer had the huevos to tell me I sucked.