(The cast of Bill Peters's SF State production. Photo by Nina de Torres Ignacio.)
Writing this review was difficult for a number of reasons. I knew two people involved in the show, which can be a conflict of interest. One of them specifically asked me to see the show and told me how much it would mean to the actresses to have a "real critic" attend and write a review. Though some professional artists were part of it, it's a college production, which brings up the question of whether it should be held to different standards. (I don't think it should.) Finally, it's not a production at just any university but my university, which further complicates the stab I always make at critical objectivity.
I like to think that though I was quite critical of the production I was at least fair and honest, never making fun of it. One word I struggled over was "excruciating," which is quite strong, but when I reflected on it, it really did capture how I felt. In the end I decided that if a production team can't handle the risk of a negative review, they shouldn't invite critics to come. Ultimately, perhaps all that was really different about reviewing this show was that, much more than with others, I really wished I had been able to write something different.
Hamlet continues through Apr. 28 at the Studio Theatre, Creative Arts Building, SF State; info here.