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Directors As Talent Scouts and Critic Swopping

January 30, 2007

Apropos of nothing: There's an interesting and little documented role played by directors, particularly in the theatre, of talent scout. I've been thinking about the important work done by, say Declan Donnellan, in launching the careers of truly stunning actors like Michael Sheen, Adrian Lester, and Matthew MacFadyen. Donnellan worked with these actors when they were very young; sometimes barely out of drama school. He showed us what they could do. And they flew.

Apropos of nothing #2: It would be an interesting and not unuseful experiment for SF Weekly to allow its critics to swop roles for one week. The idea of having the food critic cover theatre, the theatre critic, music, the music critic, fine art, and the art critic, music etc sounds like a gimmick, but I don't think it is. It may breathe some life into tired patterns of thinking and writing about an art form. It may bring a fresh perspective. For example, I would love to see a restaurant review that used adjectives like "anarchic" and "incendiary" in describing a combination of flavors in an entree or the items on a wine list. These are words I'd wished I'd applied, in retrospect, to my review of Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman last week. I'm not saying that a food critic wouldn't come up with new ways of describing taste themselves. I'm just saying that delicious things may arise if you give someone who comes from a different discipline the chance to think and write about something they're not used to thinking and writing about.

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