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- A Story of O’s
As a self-produced performer, I can’t afford to be one of those “oh I never read my reviews” actors. First of all, I’m convinced that 99.99% of people who say that are lying. We can spout our lofty artistic intentions all we want, but the truth is that if we didn’t want to affect people, we’d do skits in our basements for an audience of indifferent cats. I want to reach people, to challenge, inspire, and entertain them. I want to foster dialogue that might never happen otherwise, and to open hearts and minds.
Audience members often approach me after a show to share their own experiences. Somehow me sharing my stories gives them permission to share theirs, and I love that. But critics are able to influence others to see or not see my show, and the producer in me knows I must read all my reviews and use what I can from them to help fill seats.
I’ve gotten pretty good at dealing with poor reviews. I’ve learned that it’s ok to allow them to bother me for a little bit, and I’ve learned how to move past them. I’m able to assess whether the reviewer didn’t “get” it, and I’m also able to determine whether there’s valid, constructive criticism I can use to make my show better. I know that, particularly with A Story of O’s, not everyone is going to like the stories I’m telling. They make people uncomfortable and challenge their assumptions and misconceptions. This is intentional, a huge part of my calling as an artist.
So I won’t lie: it’s gratifying and relieving when I get positive reviews like the ones I linked to above. They help sell tickets, and I’d rather play to more people than less. This year at London Fringe, I’ve been blessed with some glowing reviews, and I wanted to share them with you.
When I was writing A Story of O’s, I was extremely mindful of honoring my clients and respecting their privacy. First, I used no identifying details about specific callers without asking their permission. Also, I wanted any of my phone sex clients to be able to come to the show and, if they recognized themselves in any way, feel celebrated as opposed to ridiculed. So I am absolutely overjoyed at this rave review from the Willamette Week and particularly proud of the following:
“But the show’s momentum relies not on mere erotic absurdity. Rather than reducing her clients to caricatures, Miller humanizes them.”
*deep sigh of relief* I hoped that’s what I was doing, but you just never know how people are going to interpret things. I have one more Portland performance left, this Friday, and it’s already almost sold out. Then I have a couple weeks off before heading to Edmonton. It’s going to be very interesting (read: terrifying), presenting A Story of O’s to an audience that isn’t comprised primarily of my friends, family, and the kink/poly/swinger/sex-positive communities. I mean, if people think she is a blasphemous slut, what are they going to say about me? Guess I’m going to find out. Heh.
So yeahhhhh…I think I just got favorably compared to Spalding Gray. That happened. *speechless*
The Beat Magazine review of Threads
***Originally posted at PortlandFood.org***
Have given this place two tries and won’t be going back. The first time, I was in a terrible mood. Food was fine though the service was slow, and I was rather ambivalent about it. But I remember thinking it wouldn’t be fair to judge any place based on going there in that frame of mind…
So we tried it again, and I’m just not impressed. The food isn’t terrible, but it’s not particularly memorable. And it’s no deal even at happy hour, despite how eagerly the servers try to convince you it is by throwing around ounce pour sizes and “we serve them in pint glasses!” rote rhetoric.
I’m sorry, but you’ve lost me when I hear the phrase “what is that, you ask?” and you haven’t paused to take a breath in 75 seconds let alone long enough to allow me to pose an actual question. What, do they have a scary schoolmarm in the back room drilling them on this stuff? I felt like I was getting a lesson plan, not hearing the specials. And uh…I’m going to a supposedly upscale Mexican restaurant…I KNOW WHAT QUESO ANEJO IS! I don’t need it described to me, thank you very much, and if I did I would ask.
H and I actually had a hard time keeping straight faces, as the earnest server with the terrible timing kept cracking us up…Intrusive, unobservant, and ~ugh~ the constant upselling…*sigh*…I kept thinking of Brian, the Chotchkie’s waiter in that scene from Office Space…
“So can I get you gentlemen something more to drink? Or maybe something to nibble on? Some Pizza Shooters, Shrimp Poppers, or Extreme Fajitas?”