Artsie Aftershocks

Artsie Aftershocks
Artsie Aftershocks
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It’s the morning after and the results have all been announced. As per usual with the RTCC awards, the outcome in many categories was surprising, disappointing or simply befuddling. As someone who was involved in the process, I can say that the selection of the eventual award recipients is not scientific: it involves fallible human beings making personal choices about an inherently subjective art form. Having said that, I’ve never felt like the process has ever spit out a totally indefensible selection, mostly because all of the nominees in each category did exceptional work.  What follows are some of my reflections on just a few of the people and productions that took home awards last night. I’m writing this before the event so my perspective on the hijinks (or lowjinks) that transpired during the actual event itself will have to wait for another day.


Critics like fresh faces. For most people, Kelsey Cordrey and Maggie Bavalack really burst on to the scene this year. And when reflecting on a season’s worth of great performances, the pairing of a fresh face and a powerful role is pretty compelling.


Critics just want a good laugh. It may seem surprising that “A Comedy of Errors” came out on top of the Best Play category. The traditional wisdom is that comedies don’t do so well at awards time. However, in past years, even the more dramatic shows that emerged as Best Play were leavened with substantial amounts of humor (“Judas Iscariot,” “August: Osage County”). When a show was as effective at eliciting laughs as “Errors,” maybe the good feeling it generated was too powerful for even cold-hearted critics to ignore.


Sometimes, it’s a math thing. Voting always boils down to a numbers game, which can hamper the prospects for some nominees. For instance, the “Best Actress – Play” category is always incredibly competitive. I’d suggest that “The Beauty Queen of Lenane” was hurt by its own success this year. Mary Best Bova and Jill Bari Steinberg both delivered powerhouse performances but ultimately split votes when it came to selecting just one person to receive the award.


There are many more results that could be debated. But in the final analysis, if you were there, it’s likely you had a good time. If nothing else, the event is always a good party. If you weren’t there, you should be sure and be there next year!

1 Comment

  1. As a founding member of the RTCC and continuing cheerleader for the Richmond Theatre Community (and Ham), I have a little reminder for anyone spitting out the taste of sour grapes this morning with regards to last night’s award distribution. Yes, it is fun to be noted as “the best” at something which is one purpose of the Artsies. However, as conceived by the originators of the RTCC (and as you already know, Dave since you are one of them) the actual Awards are a sidebar to the purpose of the event. There is an overriding two fold focus of the Artsies which is: 1) to celebrate the work of ALL Richmond Theatre Artists and 2) raise money for the Theatre Artists Fund.
    In Buddhism we are taught to accept all things with equanimity. That includes our losses AND successes. If everyone keeps in mind the true focus of the event and tempers ego regarding winning or loosing, then everyone can be happy – particularly, as you so aptly point out, the voting process is far from scientific making attachment to the outcome a little silly.

    In closing, I wish to send heartfelt congratulations out to EVERYONE who attended last night’s awards and helped to make it a fabulous party and most excellent and successful fundraiser.

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