Thursday, June 3, 2010

Critical Stages Publishes its Spring 2010 Issue

The second issue of Critical Stages, the webjournal of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC), came out this spring. 

Yun-Cheol Kim, publisher of Critical Stages and IATC president, said, "All of the editors, headed by Dr. Maria Helena Serodio, have worked extremely hard to make this 'crazy project' a sustainable reality. This journal will be our contribution to world theatre, and serve greatly to make theatre and theatre criticism matter in our society."

In her editorial, Serodio added that the second issue "brings with it the evidence that the IATC is able to pursue one of its main goals: to highlight the need (and the importance) of critics and criticism in the field of theatre. But this claim is not to be held as a vain conceit: it only means that we assume this as a challenge and a responsibility, so that we shall do our best not to disappoint artists, readers and theatre audiences alike."

Three American critics were prominent contributors to the second issue. San Francisco-based writer and acting teacher Lissa Tyler Renaud interviews theatre directors David Zinder and Stan Lai (Lai Sheng-Chuan) in the "Theatre Views" department.

A daring contribution comes from New York-based critic and author of the book Theatre Voices, Steve Capra who actually reviews the first edition of Critical Stages, published this past fall. In his article in the Book Reviews" department, Capra, a dedicated member of the International Committee of the American Theatre Critics Association, writes:

The interviews, the reviews, the discussions of our iconic influences―these all reflect an erudite and articulate critical community. Indeed, Robert Greig's review is close to a model of analysis. Naturally, the material paints a more sanguine portrait of world theatre than it deserves. As our publisher rightly notes, “The theatre is in a real crisis.” The unique contribution of the issue lies in its first and final sections: “Theatrical Commentary and Professing Theatre Criticism” (it’s unclear why the sections are separate). It’s here that Critical Stages addresses its mission most directly, and we find discussions of criticism per se, material that contextualizes our work. It somehow validates us.

In addition, on the eve of granting the third Thalia Prize to Richard Schechner in IATC's forthcoming Congress in Yerevan, Armenia, to be held in June, American Theatre senior editor Randy Gener subjects the French critic, playwright and essayist Jean-Pierre Sarrazac to a Proust Questionnaire. The speech Sarrazac read in Sofia is also published in French. Sarrazac received the second Thalia Prize in Sofia two years ago “for having influenced critical thinking about the art of theatre.”

In the accompanying photos, the article shows the emblem of the Thalia Prize, which was specially commissioned from the distinguished Romanian stage and artist-designer Dragos Buhagiar: a cane with a silver top, representing Thalia, the Greek muse of comedy. (Incidentally, an interview of Buhagiar appears in the same spring issue.)

Says Kim, "The second issue shows some improvements over the first one. Now we have some moving images, more visual designs, and the archive where you can refer to the past issues. I have no doubt that Critical Stages will soon become one of the best resources, one of the most informative and relevant theatre journals in the world, especially given that we have such a rich pool of fine writers in every corner of the globe. Your suggestions to make it better are always welcome. Please visit the IATC Webjournal and invite your students, colleagues, and your entire theatre community to visit and make use of it."

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