Friday, March 28, 2014

A Fly On The Wall, March 28, 2014

Suspense Needs Surprise
Jim Murchison

I saw three plays in three nights last week. The third one was Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter. Pinter for some reason is not produced an awful lot in Ottawa. This is definitely the first time I have ever seen Pinter done in Ottawa and maybe ever. Theatre students though are always familiar with him. He has a style of creating tension out of nothing where the most innocuous or benign moments have underlying menace in them and allow for some very interesting choices for actors and directors to go for the laugh one moment and just scare the pants off you the next.

Reviewing The Dumb Waiter forced me to think of my style as a reviewer. Although I generally don't like to tell too much of the plot in a review, I made an extra concerted effort to say almost nothing of the story. All I said was that two women (in this case, it is usually two men) are waiting for instructions about a job they have to do.

I hate seeing reviews that spoil the surprise for an audience or ones that have the spoiler alert which makes no sense to me. Why are you putting something in your review and then pleading with over half of your readers not to read that part. You do end up spoiling it for the curious cats that grew up knowing what all of their Christmas presents were on November 25th because you know they will peek. You piss off the others that want to read the ending summation but are afraid they'll pick it up too early or accidentally glance at the wrong word and spoil it for themselves. The only ones that will have no problem with it will be the people that have already seen or read it and they already have an opinion, so what's the point in writing to them.  

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