We’re writing primarily in response to the article “IMPROVment brings ‘fetch’ back in latest show,” but this letter deals with many of the reviews that are published in The Observer on a regular basis. We are performers at heart, and, as such, expect to be reviewed and critiqued from time to time if not every time we get on stage. However, as performers, one thing we really don’t appreciate is a review that doesn’t adequately reflect our performance or is inaccurate. Unfortunately, the article mentioned above falls into this category.
The review had errors throughout it, from not having the proper cast list to quoting the wrong lines in the wrong scenes. Now everyone can make mistakes, but in this case we were left wondering whether the reviewer saw our show at all. The show did not run “Oct. 10-11” as quoted in the article (which was published on Oct. 10th) but in fact was performed Oct. 4, almost a full week before The Observer was published. This, and all of the other errors, could have been caught and corrected had the reviewer taken the time to approach us or contact us in any way.
The Observer has done feature pieces on IMPROVment before and we are always happy to help a reporter by answering questions and describing our games properly so that readers can both understand them and understand what we do as a whole. If the reporter wanted to do a blind review, that’s fine too, but in that case we would expect that the reviewer would have had experience with improvisation so that they know how to properly critique it. Reviewing improvisation is not the same as reviewing a Broadway show, similar to how you wouldn’t critique a music concert by saying choreography was lacking. In any case, a review should at least not have blatant errors that even someone who walked into the last five minutes of our show would recognize.
Please don’t misunderstand this as us not being kind to criticism; we critique ourselves for every game after each show we do, along with having an aggressive rehearsal and workshopping schedule to improve ourselves as improvisors. When we have other improv troupes from outside the University visit us (which we normally do, several times a year) we welcome feedback from them and look at those special events as times to grow and develop our improvisation skills. The issue we want to raise is not that The Observer should not be doing reviews, but that the reviewers should take more care to be accurate, especially when the group being reviewed is a student organization that is dependent on students who read The Observer attending their productions.
We perform a show most every Saturday night throughout the year (our schedule is available at improv.case.edu). We would welcome The Observer staff to review or feature one of our shows again, though preferably with proper information.
The Cast of IMPROVment