Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Collection, at the Exit

(Christian Cagigal and his unique brand of magic. Photo by Julie Michelle.)

For this show, the artist, Christian Cagigal, made a difficult request of reviewers: to "not reveal a single thing that happens in order to maintain the surprise and mystery of the show."

I'd already written a lot of details by the time I remembered that precept, so I had to delete them all. Yet I still had to give readers an idea of what the show is about. I tried to be evocative without being specific, and I think it might have worked -- at least, I haven't received any angry e-mails yet.

But in general, I wonder if that's an acceptable request to make of critics. Oughtn't critics be the judge of what's appropriate to write? If you don't want audiences to know what happens in your show, why get reviewed at all?

I have read reviews whose gratuitous spoilers made me cringe, but at the same time, I'm not sure how often I commit the crime! In most cases, however, I believe a critic should be able to reveal however much of a plot he/she thinks would serve the review. It's likely that The Collection is a genuine exception because it is, in essence, a magic show, which depends more on surprise than most regular theater does. 

The Collection continues through Apr. 13; info here.

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