After all the hubub about 100 Saints You Should Know getting buzz on the blogosphere (good, bad and ugly) and all that jazz, the period for previews has passed and 100 Saints You Should Know is getting some post-print-embargo reviews.
This review shows why they pay Ben Brantley the big bucks. He's able to parse the positives and negatives of 100 Saints You Should Know rather gracefully without seeming offended by its existence or overly sunny. I've seen the show, and Brantley pretty much nails it. I would say that I think Jeremy Shamos deserves a bit more credit here for his work, but that's the way the cookie falls apart.
Funny how a little distance makes what appeared to be a crisis seem like so much fluff and clouds. Previews are over, the reviews are out, the consensus is pretty substantial, and that's that. 99.9% of the people that are reading the review of 100 Saints in the Times today have no friggin' idea that there was ever any theatrosphere throwdown about the issue.
So... what can we all learn from this?
That, in the end, this single play got more buzz than its artistic merits might have warranted by being engaged with the blogosphere?
That engaging with the blogosphere can create the wrong kind of buzz?
That it's overstatement, to say the least, to presume that some indiscretions or blog postings will have a fundamental affect on the rules of the journalistic road?
That the New York Times has around 13 million unique visitors a month and that bloggers, no matter how popular in certain circles, have merely a Fringe of a Fringe of that sort of media power?
That's not to say that blogging isn't a pretty fun way to engage in conversation, and speak in a public and democratic way about what we see and feel. We lend our passion and humor to these discussions and represent independent voices. But let's not pretend that the rules that affect media outlets like the Times are even intended to apply to, um, On Theatre and Politics or Superfluities or Parabasis.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.