Lies. All lies. Even when we are both clearly not good, we say we are good. Neither of us really want to know if the other isn't good. We just want to get through the transaction. (When I was a check out chick I did have a gentleman ask me if I really did want to know and I said yes and he did actually tell me how he was feeling, so it is possible). We lie. We say we are great. It's a white lie, sure, but it's not accurate, and it is unknown whether there are actual benefits.
The same could be said for art. Both viewing and participating in projects, but let's start with participating in.
When we are rehearsing a project, we tell people it's good, perhaps even when it isn't, because we need people to see the show. It's generally indie theatre, could be an indie film, and generally the way we make money is through people coming to the show. So we might lie that all is well so people come to see the show so we get paid. We all gots to make the money.
But then we run the risk of our friends not trusting our judgement. They may no longer believe us when we tell them a show is good if they figure out we lured them in. Of course they may enjoy the show even though you think it's bad, so no harm done. We could approach with a level of honesty; we'd really like them to see it but we don't know if they'll enjoy it. Would that be a better option?
But what about when the project is done? People may have come to see it, they may have not. Then they ask you how it was. You 'should' say it was great. You had good houses, people enjoyed it, you made good connections etc. But what if that was simply not the case?
Why should we lie?
I think we need to acknowledge that not all projects are successful. That not all projects are 'good'. That not all projects were enjoyable. Perhaps not admit this to everyone, but at least to our own industry. And it shouldn't harm our reputation by speaking truthfully on the matter. If we can speak honestly about a project, then that can start the conversation to create better work. To grow. A solo debrief is not enough. We can also stop reinforcing the myth that working in your passion is enjoyable 100% of the time.
If an experiment failed we should own up to it, then discuss why it did, and what could be done differently a lesson learned. I feel like the work gets done then on to the next project. Even if artists are not working together again, a discussion should be had. We should be honest with people not in the project; if we can't objectively look at our own work, what can we do?
What about viewing work? Once we've paid our hard earned money, we desperately want a show to be good. It's terribly disappointing when it isn't. But we should admit it, talk about it. Not just that it was 'bad' but why you thought so. Why you didn't like it. It's not a personal attack on the creators, it's your feelings towards the art. We are meant to respond to art, it is meant to provoke, and this doesn't always have to be in a positive way. The trick is, we need to continue viewing art, despite a bad experience, instead of just giving up.
When things are expensive it's difficult to justify paying money to see something that could very well be bad. Perhaps your previous experience leans heavily towards it being an unpleasant experience. So perhaps we say it was good, or justify to ourselves that it was, because we don't want to feel ripped off. However, when it comes to ticketing prices I feel like that's another discussion altogether.
So for now, I am going to try looking at experiences objectively and expressing them as so. Maybe this will be a failed experiment. But then I'll talk about that too.