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Acting Standards III: collective judgements

A remarkable thing about extraordinary pieces of theatre is that the audience acts as one. Shared experience.

Conversely, for bad theatre, we all can suffer differently.

For fairly good but not outstanding theatre, one can seemingly obtain differing opinions [I wonder if anyone liked Saffron Burrows in Powerbook?].

In another life, I studied behavioural neuroscience [yes I know a lot about finance and a lot about neuroscience, odd fish that I am] and an interesting property about supposedly qualitative judgements is that you often find very good agreement.

Find a group of people and ask them to rate “beauty” on a scale of 1 to 10 and that group will for the most part agree [there are interesting cultural differences occasionally when this experiment is run].

This comes back to Krazy’s assertion that “everyone knew” Saffron Burrows could not act.

One might argue that differing quality judgements makes this a hard assertion to substantiate.

Strangely, work on collective judgements would suggest that maybe everyone did know, which does begs Krazy’s question of why did she get cast?

On the other hand, for theatre which is not outstanding but merely fairly good, collective judgements are harder. Indeed, rating beauty is the hardest for “fairly pretty” people or people who have quirky features.

I relate this back to my recent thoughts on Shoreditch Madonna, which has not met the collective “outstanding rating” and has had two critics on very split views on Alexandra Moen’s performance. See earlier post.

One more suggestion, I could make is that Powerbook did not meet “outstanding” which Krazy, myself and others who care, aspire too. So poor Saffron came off badly in Krazy’s eyes and given Krazy’s high ambitions, this simply was not good enough.

I didn’t see Saffron so would not like to pass judgement but if she was cast on looks not talent then, it is bad. Further, it is up to people like Krazy, critics and people who should know, to say and do something. I imagine Krazy Kritic thinks those who should know better and are in control aren’t doing enough. Then again, no one said creating good art was going to be easy.

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  • About me

    I'm a playwright and investment analyst. I have a broad range of interests: food, gardening, innovation & intellectual property, sustainability, architecture & design, writing and the arts. I sit on the board of Talawa Theatre Company and advise a CIS investment trust on socially responsible investments.

  • Recent Work

    Recent plays include, for theatre: Nakamitsu, Yellow Gentlemen, Lost in Peru, Lemon Love. For radio: Places in Between (R4), Patent Breaking Life Saving (WS).

  • Nakamitsu

  • Yellow Gentlemen