Regarding Critics Somehow Encouraging Theatre By Somehow Stifling Their True Thoughts? UGH!
If Charles Foster Kane couldn't save his mistress' singing career, how are Chicago theater critics suppose to take on the responsibility of saving theater? The short answer is that they shouldn't. What critics write about shows they see should be honest and sincere appraisals of what they thought of what they saw.
I used to think that critics should be divergent in what they review. But, I am not sure that now I would even insist on that. As a consumer of art/theater, so long as I have access to a wide range of opinion on a vast array of performance, why would I insist that a critic come see a show that they, for whatever reason, didn't feel compelled to see? Why would I desire such a hostility be introduced into the process between art and audience?
We as artists should trust the intent of the reviewers who see the work, even if we don't agree with their assessment of the art.
I think the real question now is where and how best to start and maintain dialogue about theatre and specific productions rather than being too wrapped up in any individual critic's monologue regardless if it is 'good' or 'bad' press.