Soden, Christopher. “Delicate Tiger. Ferocious Snowflake”, Lulu, 2019.
At the Theater
I love the theater and am so glad that I have relocated to Boston where theater is wonderful (excluding that little incident with Faye Dunaway). I have seen some very fine productions here including the pre-Broadway runs of Tennessee Williams “The Glass Menagerie” with the magnificent Cherry Jones and the breathtaking revival of “Pippin” to name just two. I also love that I am so much closer to Broadway than I have ever lived before. Now that does not mean that there is not good theater elsewhere and we see that through Christopher Soden’s love of theatre which is evident through this collection of reviews. (We agree on a lot of productions but those that we do not agree on are masterfully handled).
I have often wondered why people would publish a book of reviews since there does not seem to be a market for them but I suppose that in the world of literature it is each to his own. It is a pity, however, that books like this do not get the attention they deserve. Reading Soden’s work, you feel as if you meet a man who is driven by his love for the theater and I find that exhilarating. Soden is more than just a critic, he is also a guide and translator. Through his reviews, we gain insights that we might not have seen as well as background information as well as history, context, psychology about the plays. By this, we reach a different level of comprehension and understanding. He gives no spoilers and he gives credit to those who deserve it whether that be the playwright, the director and/or the cast. We forget sometimes that without those three elements, we really do not have a production.
I like that he does as I do in reviewing film and books. If something does not deserve or merit a good review, I do not post something negative. Creating art is much like pregnancy in that the result is never really clear until it walks on its own and who are we to tear something down before it walks? I would not destroy a child just as I will not destroy a work of art.
What makes Soden a different kind of critic is that his reviews are designed to help the reader better know and understand the plays here. While his reviews are productions from Dallas, Texas, they are also universal. They are multi-layered and written from the heart. I want to add here that for those of you who have never written a review, you have no idea how difficult this is to do and there are many factors to take into account. I see reviewing as an art and Christopher Soden is a mighty fine artist.