Dorothy Velasco reviews plays for the Register-Guard.
-What made you want to gravitate toward reviewing theatre?
I gravitated toward reviewing theatre because I was a drama major in college (University of Southern California) and focussed on playwriting for my M.A. Many years ago, when I was offered the opportunity to review for The Register-Guard, and then KLCC, it seemed like a natural fit.
-How do you try to remove your own possible biases when reviewing a play?
It’s hard to remove your own biases. As a liberal, I would find it very difficult to be unbiased if I watched a play that was anti-gay. In fact, if I know in advance that I don’t like a play, I ask not to review it because I know I couldn’t be absolutely fair. I always try to be very fair to the production and especially to local actors and playwrights. I know how hard it is to produce and perform a play. I actually use different standards if the play is a student or community theatre production as compared to a professional production. When I review plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I am much more critical and stringent than when I review an amateur production.
–If you can recall, what is the single worst play you’ve ever reviewed?
I don’t think I can remember the very worst play I have ever reviewed. Maybe it’s like childbirth –the laws of nature make you forget the pain after it’s over so you’ll be willing to have another child, or review yet another play!
–Why do you think that people still are interested in seeing live theatre, what with all the technology around today?
Theatre is still strong today in spite of the competition of technology and the shocking ticket prices for Broadway productions. I think that nothing compares to the shared experience of live theatre, theatre that talks to us in a very intimate way and reaches right into our brains. It’s a visceral experience to go to a musical performance, but theatre is both emotional and intellectual. For me, and for many other diehard theatre-goers, the eye-opening and mind-opening wallop of theatre takes the place of organized religion. The theatre is my church, my home, and a jumping off point for stimulating conversations.