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On the Guardian's Tweet Night at the Young Vic

On Tweeting First

Because I cannot say all that I want to say in a Tweet. Tweeting does what it says on the tin- it is a single thought, a single note- 'tweet' - and that's it. It's not a warble  or a nightingale's song but a simple little cry of the inner chaffinch or long tailed tit--- a provocation towards other things, an indication of deeper revelations not to be found within the tweet but - if you stick around and follow the signs- in a full blown aria complete with dawn chorus... if you are lucky. Tweeting is I believe a way of letting off hot air, instantaneous and if not used with awareness - shallow. Facebook, for all its problems, is underused in its ability to share and promote ideas.. it is a fairer network if used intelligently.

On Critics

I am glad we have critics and they interest me as -  and I believe everyone should always be a constant critic anyhow- it is not derogatory but fun.... and a way of learning your history!  And someone has to be a professional critic, to set the bar, to set the ball rolling and to initiate discussion- and you can't (as an artist) yell out into the world and then hate the fact that your call has an answering echo- or two or three. I read critics because they incite ideas, provoke me; introduce me to new things and make me re-evaluate my own ideas and reactions- in short there is always an exchange about life between reader and critic -if the critics are read in the right way...and this is  good . So actors should read as well and not be afraid. Who knows a stray comment may well just shed light.....  And I don't believe in the concept of  a critic living in an ivory tower. What does this mean? I find it a bit useless... no one is  completely within an ivory tower. .. of course they are not if one uses one's own imagination and to say otherwise is to be flippant too easily. And P.S -for the artist any criticism is better than none because it proves an audience for one thing and  an engagement with one's ideas - the worst possible crime one person can commit towards another is indifference and we are all guilty of that in our various ways.. Also there is this assumption that criticism is somehow negative...criticism is a chance to learn if only one can let go of the ego. It's like saying to be selfish is bad- when in fact in the right context, it could save your life or someone else's. 

on the internet

We live in an age where the internet provides the ability for people to have instant reactions to articles others have written. That is the democratic right that the internet gives for most people - and also is the choice newspapers have made and allowed for on their websites.  Because of this the critic becomes the artist- he/ she becomes the one standing in the spotlight... the one who is now reviewed for his or her review which in itself becomes a piece of art. And then that reviewer of the review also gets a review themselves. But as long as the dialogue is continuous, and the criticism is not personal then the Russian Doll of criticism should continue. .. this continuous looking into the mirror....shouldn't everyone be allowed to join the discussion?

I am not sure why there might be a problem with identity and as to whether a critic/ commentator names themselves or not. Why should one person's thought be less valid than another's simply because they choose to remain anonymous? Why does anyone need to do any research into someone's past internet or writing history in order to validate their writing- especially if what they are saying proves interesting and provocative? Why does it matter where an idea comes from? Is there a fear of a lack of control here? Some of our best quotes and sayings/ cliches are anonymous. The biggest and most important acts of history are sometimes committed by those whose names we never hear  or know of. What is this obsession we have with needing to quantify others and know who they are? Is this itself a result of the internet age where a provable  identity means authenticity? 

Also some people can only articulate themselves through the written word. Face to face discussion does not work for them, as they are artists. The same can be said of critics. 

on reviewing and tickets

Critics are not gods but if they are it is the fault of the theatres who wine and dine them and treat them as gods. They can also be gods if they are seen to control the markets and the number of bums on seats...this is the result of capitalism I suppose.  So I have no sympathy if they are held up as pillars of authority by theatres and communities and yet despised by those very same people... This is religion. ..

Plays I believe should be reviewed more than once. How we consume theatre could be revolutionised - especially in this economic down turn- by offering discounted tickets for individuals who want to see a play more than once. Just as we read a good book more than once or stand in front of an effective painting more than once or rewind to that scene in that film that is so transcendental more than once - so we should be able to have the same relationship with theatre if we so wish... a really good play or performance cannot be got- I don't think- in one go- like a Bergman film it might need to be reviewed over and over. More things are learnt with study and the ability- like an actor on stage- for a good audience member to open out with love towards a performance that is being offered to them. They may need this experience more than once.


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