The Journey and the Critics are Sirens
We have just opened ALL WE EVER WANTED WAS EVERYTHING at the Bush Theatre. It's been a hell of a journey and I have to say that sitting in the theatre on Friday with my friends, family, and my beloved Middle Child that I felt the happiest I've felt in a very long time. The reason being that I was able to sit at one of the most prestigious theatres in the world, on press night, with my social life on the line, knowing that I have just made something that is so me, that is so unashamedly about what I care about, what I want the world to think about, in the way that I like theatre that no one could make me feel bad about it. And I stand by that.
The audience response, the ticket sales, the fact the show's in it's 5th venue, the reviews have been overwhelming great. It's also worth remembering that we made this show in a hall in Hull two years with no NPO money to do in a night club for a week or so. The fact it's still going is testament to it's self... But... Amongst all this we had 2 bad reviews. Now it's important to note that they are in the vast minority of critical responses but that doesn't mean they don't hurt. It led me to thinking about how we cope with reviews pyschologically. Last night I chatted to my friend, and collaborator, Paul Smith about it and he reminded me of something that I think is really important. We set out to make a show for millenials that made them feel less alone in a way that is fun and a good thing to do for a night. We achieved that in Hull, Scotland, London, Reading and god knows where else. That, in our eyes, and the audiences eyes was a success. That is how we have to measure the success of an artistic project.
We have to remember that we set out on a journey with an artistic piece. We set out to get somewhere and achieve something. We set out a path and we walk down it. That's it. We have to measure our projects on whether or not we got to the end of our journey and not let critics tell us the journey is bad or we have a weird way of walking. We just have to follow the journey. If we don't and we let the critics make us forget the end of our journey we're just lost in the woods. It's getting there in our own way that counts.