A.O. Scott’s opinion piece in the January 31st NYT “Everybody’s a Critic. And that’s How It Should Be” is an eloquent essay on why it is important for each of us to think, form our own opinions, and have civil discourse about art and culture. It is very easy for me to be swayed and directed by the swirl of hype, opinion, and YELP reviews about a particular film, show, or book. I am easily persuaded to adopt the opinions of others in place of forming my own.
Scott provides fresh insights into the role of critics today, but more importantly I heard his call for each of us to consider our cultural experiences, think about them and discuss them. And as he states: join critics as a soldier in the real culture war “between the human intellect and its equally human enemies: sloth, cliché, pretension, cant. Between creativity and conformity…”.
The performing arts provide rich opportunities for communities and individuals to come together around events that spark our imaginations and stimulate our minds. That is one reason I consider myself so fortunate to work in this richly rewarding profession, creating spaces where the magic happens!
- Tony Forman is co-founder of Nextstage Design and a planner of and advocate for performance spaces that work for audiences, performers, technicians, and communities.