George Bernard Shaw had a few choice words to say about critics. After all, he was one, too.
So it's only fitting that there be a Shaw Symposium on Critics on June 2 at 2 p.m. at The Players Club at Gramercy Park South in New York.
This first symposium will focus on arts critics and journalists in the New York area and will involve a discussion regarding how critics envision the future of arts journalism: the need and the means.
The springboard topic will be “Are Critics Necessary?” David Cote will moderate a grouop that will include myself. Martin Bernheimer, Joe Dziemanowicz, Michael Feingold, Adam Feldman, Peter Filichia, Leonard Jacobs, Andy Propst, Michael Riedel, John Simon, Michael Sommers, Rob Weinert-Kendt, Linda Winer and Jason Zinoman.
There will be limited seats for observers at $10 a head.
The Symposium is being produced by Gingold Theatrical Group as part of its first Shaw New York festival, which has launched with a production of Shaw’s "Man and Superman" as a co-production with The Irish Repertory Theatre and is now playing at the theater and runnimg through June 17.
Also on June 2 at 8 p.m., Shaw New York will also present its first Shaw Concert offering music by composers Shaw had championed as ‘modern’ composers during his career as a music critic. This evening’s entertainment will include works by Brahms, Wagner and Elgar to be performed by pianist and composer Timo Andres, the mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway and special guests.
The evening’s program will include Elgar’s tone poem, “Sea Pictures”, Wagner’s haunting “Wesendonck Lieder”, and Brahms’ lilting “Liebeslieder Waltzes.” Representing Shaw’s belief in the importance of supporting new work, Andres will perform his own piece, “It Takes A Long Time To Become A Good Composer.”
Information: www.projectshaw.com and 212-352-3101.
And whatr did Shaw say about arts criticism? He saw it as an art form in itself, a noble piece of the whole arts picture. In his book ADVICE TO A YOUNG CRITIC, he wrote:
“Dear Sir. There is no way of ‘becoming’ a dramatic critic. It happens by accident and it usually happens to some sort of journalist who probably writes about anything but the theatre. Remember: to be a critic you must also have literary skill—and trained critical skill, too. The power of analysis, comparison and so forth.
As to what to read, read anything you feel curious about. It’s quite possible that your real interest may not lie in the theatre at all. But in any case, read dramatic literature, not histories or criticisms of it. Read three of four of the most famous plays of Moliere and Victor Hugo. Sample Beaumarchais, Voltaire, De Musset, Augier and Dumas fils until you know their styles. Read all of Goethe’s plays and a lot of Schiller’s. Read a rhymed play of Dryden’s a play of Wycherley’s some of Congreve’s, several of Sheridan, a Boucicault and a Robertson. Read Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes. Read Ibsen all through. Also any memoirs of actors that you can unearth or can’t avoid. That will do for a beginning. Read all the great critics. Get a ticket for the British Museum reading room and live there as much as you can. Go to all the first rate orchestral concerts and to the opera, as well as to the theaters. Join debating societies and learn to speak in public. Study men and politics. Finally, since I have given you all this advice, I add this crowning precept, the most valuable of all: Never Take Anybody’s Advice.”
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