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Short And Tweet

July 13, 2009

In advance of a class I'm teaching over the next couple of weeks about engaging with and responding to live performance through writing for California Shakespeare Theater's Summer School program, I'm trying out Twitter as a conduit for channeling thoughts about a performance.

It's not easy.

For what it's worth, here's my take, in 140 characters including spaces or less, of the production which my students are going to be writing full reviews about this week (and posting them on the CalShakes' blog):

"Stephen Turner and Diana LaMar's lovebirds don't tweet but bark in CalShakes' sizzling take on Noel Coward's Private Lives"

It takes up at least half of a Tweet to tell people the name of the production, the company behind it and the URL. Thank goodness I'm not trying to Tweet about a play with an extended title like Mrs Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge!

One might question whether there's any point in using Twitter as a reviewing mechanism at all. I think there are some definite pluses to alerting people to shows with this technology though. The main function, I think, is to grab a reader's attention enough to make them want to go on to read a full-length piece about a show. A few quick words, plus the URL which people can follow to get an in-depth take is the way to go. Wendy Rosenfield, in her terrific Drama Queen blog , came to a similar conclusion a couple of weeks ago.


  • as a professional critic, I'd say it's the wrong tool. As Joe Blow, it's awesome. We can just say "At Cuckoo's Nest. F*cking rocks. Disturbing as hell, in a good way."

    if someone doesn't know it's at the SF Playhouse, or any other pertinent information, they'll tweet back or google it. We don't need to provide any information other than what is tweetworthy.

    Of course, I hope that folks are tweeting during the intermission, and not during the performance. Cause that's not cool, yo.

    By Blogger Dan Wilson, At July 13, 2009 at 11:03 AM  

  • Hi Dan, -- is it so uncool to tweet during a show? I think there's something to be said for being engaged enough with a drama that you have a thought worth sending out to the world...although I suppose it could work the other way -- they aren't engaged enough to be taken away from their twittering upcoming column in August's Theatre Bay Area magazine is all about the ups and downs of twitter. Check it out :-)

    By Blogger Clay Lord, At July 21, 2009 at 10:16 AM  

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