A few years back, when Edward Albee spoke at the Dallas Museum of Art, he set aside a very special few minutes to heap vitriol on the profession of theater criticism and those wannabe artists who flail away with ink-stained claws at the accomplishments of others. His sentiments were hardly novel for a playwright-director (and I've read colleagues whose barely contained, bilious envy justified Albee's bitterness, albeit not toward the whole pack of us). My standard line of defense is--that unlike film and TV, theater flares up and out, never to be viewed again with that special combination of actors, directors, designers and "the moment" where their efforts unite to stun audiences. The columns and reviews some stage artists despise are often the only existing record of the artistic glory (and folly) they've achieved. For good and ill, we're their historians, the only witnesses who can tell one version of the tale in a public forum that will be read by the many, many others who didn't catch that burst of dying light. That vast archive known as the Internet now virtually assures that differing impressions of shows, seasons, companies and entire regions can be recorded for lovers... More >>>