Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Theatrical Spats

I don't know if you ever read blogs by people involved in the theatre - including the Guardian blog - but sometimes there are the most awful spats in the comments sections that go on for days and days.

Some of these spats are reminiscent of the wrestling scene in Women in Love, some prompt you to try to recall that advice about quicksand - aren't you supposed to stay still, rather than struggle? - and some make you feel like the six year old child of divorcing parents pleading in vain for an end to the arguments. They encompass almost every emotion and can go from entertaining to distressing to entertaining again within the space of half an hour - much like a lot of theatre I have seen, and I don't necessarily mean that in a good way.

The result of this is that some of those involved, like David Eldridge, a playwright with a blog who printed most of the comments he received, and always gave as good as he got, have simply retired from blogging altogether. He gave a variety of reasons for this in his final post, including a fear of being mis-quoted or quoted out of context, but it seems that ultimately he found it tiresome to deal with the aggression and vilification he attracted, much of it anonymous.

Then Andy Field, who is quite the angriest person I have ever seen writing on the Guardian theatre blog - he's angry in a 'passionate about theatre' way and his remarks and articles are always attributed, so that's not a criticism - this morning posted on his own blog berating himself for not voting in the Mayoral election, among other things, and (last time I looked) has had to resort to withholding an apparently deeply unpleasant comment on his blog, reporting on it rather than publishing it in full.

It is noticeable, then, how very courteous everyone is in the comments section of the various screenwriting blogs I read; it's all very 'after you', 'no, after you', 'well done old chap' or 'better luck next time'.

I did think, for about two minutes, that perhaps I was having... not a spat, exactly, but a disagreement with Potdoll in the comments section of my earlier post about a quotation attributed to Lucille Ball. But - hooray - it turns out that we are in complete agreement about it after all. Not only that but Piers - who I have also never disagreed with - then dropped by to suggest spending the summer in each other's gardens drinking Pimm's.

Oh look - the sun is shining. Isn't life lovely? Uh... anyone for a glass of Pimm's?

8 comments:

Elinor said...

Make mine a large one.

Jason Arnopp said...

Thank the lord I didn't swing by, during the Smith/Doll dispute. I would've suggested jello wrestling as a sure-fire means of resolution.

Sal said...

Jello wrestling between protagonist and antagonist while the audience drinks Pimms, perhaps?

Andrew Haydon said...

Oh, Field just sounds like he's angry. He's actually a pussycat in real life. As for theatre blogs attracting spats - you should look at Comment Is Free stuff at the Guardian. Surely theatre is built on epic tantrums anyway...

Helen Smith said...

Hi Andrew

I always suspected Andy Field might be a sweetheart in real life and indeed was going to write something in the post along the lines of 'angry but in a sweet way' but realised that sounded horribly patronising.

I rather admire both AF and DE for their willingness to take on all-comers and have a ruck with them in print - in the interests of furthering theatrical debate - so I was sorry when both recently had to draw the line in different ways because of comments they received.

And Jason and Sal - I don't even put jelly in trifle when I make it. Surely custard is better?

And Elinor - of course. I think I will have to invest in a three-seater swing seat to accommodate us all comfortably.

Tom Green said...

This is just the sort of crap that shows you have no idea about blogging, theatre, life or anything. Do you have a clue? Have you read books? Have you even been to the theatre? You sicken me. No, I can't even be bothered to be sickened. You disappoint me.

;-)

Helen Smith said...

Aww bless you. I feel all theatrical now. I knew there was something missing in my life...

Sal said...

I'm with Tom Green now - sickened, thoroughly sickened, at the thought that you might like custard - which is EVIL!