Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Daring" Don't

I went to see a play last week at one of the many theaters in town. Ok, it's summer, so if you live in Philadelphia, you may be able to guess where the theater was and what play I saw, especially after what I'm about to say.

It was a classic play, so it had that going for it. It was a classic play that doesn't get done much, even better. The description of the production sounded exciting: it had the word daring in it.

Lordy, daring it was not.

First, let's look at what daring means, according to Princeton's Wordnet: "the trait of being willing to undertake things that involve risk or danger."

Staging a classic play, using a newish translation and sticking with period costumes, is not daring. Sticking the audience RIGHT there in front of the actors, not terribly daring, especially if you are doing it to compensate for the bitch of a theater space you have. There was no risk involved in that production. It was not earth shattering. If it failed, it was a small failure, something most people won't remember it a few years.

It didn't fail, the story came through loud and clear, it just didn't entice, which is exactly what its blurb did: entice. Do I feel cheated as a theater-goer? Yes. Was I promised something more exciting than your standard blue-haired subscriber based (ok! It's summer, so no subscriber base!) theaterjawn? Yes. I was promised daring. And what I got was self-congratulatory yipyap for 3 hours.

So maybe, stop using the word "daring" as a way to convince people to come in the door. Because when they walk through that door and get the same old same old, they most likely won't be coming back.

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