(Stephens's article appeared in the Guardian, 3/10.)
There is a temptation when we write about theatre to try to disguise our subjectivity as objectivity. It’s a temptation encouraged by the conventions of criticism and academia. As students we are trained to hide our personal, individual voices. As critics we aspire to a state of judicious overview. Such aspirations and disguises are dishonest and such temptations are silly.
The reason any of us write about theatre is because we love it. Such love, like all love, is irrational and subjective. Something we have seen has changed the way we see the world and we want to let others know about that change. The speech that stopped our hearts, the acting performance that illuminated our sense of what it is to be human, the song that made us cry when we least expected it, the joke that made us laugh uncontrollably. The writer who smashed us to pieces.