Thursday, February 2, 2012

Homework suuuuucks.

Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Hillary Cohen.

I can only assume that there are literally millions of blogs in hundreds of languages that start this way. It just might be the Internet Age equivalent of “It was a dark and stormy night….” That does not, however, make it any less true. Homework isn’t any fun and, when it comes to the New York Innovative Theatre Awards, I sometimes feel like I’m the cause of it. Or some kind of Bill Collector who you let in when a bunch of cool party guests you actually invited rang your e-mail doorbell.

Making theater is fun! Celebrating your talented community is fun! Hearing from theater luminaries is fun! You know what’s not fun? Scheduling time to see 3 assignments, remembering your JAIN and password, and coming up with charitably constructive feedback for a painfully unsuccessful production of The Sound of Music staged in College Point that you knew wasn’t going to be good even before you schlepped out past Flushing. I get it. I do.

Highlights from the Judge’s Area
There is a whole section of the IT Awards’ site aimed at you, my precious constituency. It features our Judge's Manual, Judging Criteria, a link to the Judging Process slideshow, “Thoughts on Judging” by Martin Denton, and -- if you’re logged in -- you can view your previous assignments, cast your current ballot, and edit your IT Awards account. That’s great and all but it’s still over, like, a dozen pages of reading material. Single spaced.

To cause LESS homework (because I know I wouldn’t have read this stuff if I wasn’t the Judge Co-Coordinator), I’ve pasted some highlights below. They are some, not all, of the information available. If they peak your interest, please read them in entirety here.

Judge’s Manual
If, for whatever reason, you find that you are unable to complete the 3 adjudications, please notify…the IT Awards immediately. …[T]hen make arrangements to… replace[ yourself] in the judging pool, thereby ensuring eligibility for your production and its participants.

In situations where a producer's records show that the judge was not in attendance and the judge claims to have attended the performance, we ask the judge to produce a receipt, ticket stub or program as proof of attendance. As a precaution, please keep any handouts or related materials.

As a courtesy, each production offers a ticket for you to bring a guest. We would also like to encourage your guest to go online and vote as an audience member. Please instruct them to go to, click on “Vote” and select the audience ballot.

Our scoring system is based on a scale of 1 – 100 (1 being poor, 50 being average and 100 being flawless/extraordinary).  Some people find it easier to think of this scale as a percentage.

You can only vote once per production, but we would encourage you to vote for other productions you attend as an audience member.

The credibility and success of the IT Awards relies on the personal integrity of the judges to make any possible conflicts of interest known to the IT Awards. We take these conflicts very seriously. It is your responsibility to notify the IT Awards of any possible conflicts of interest you may have with a judging assignment.

Judging Criteria
[The] Outstanding Actor In a Lead Role… [c]ategory should be judged solely on the merits of the individual performance and the effective use of the craft of acting to portray the character and serve the overall production. Scores should be based on the following criteria:
•    Understanding of and commitment to the script
•    Embodying the character (including physical and vocal traits where appropriate)
•    Giving a performance that is conducive to the production
•    Overall effectiveness of the performance

Outstanding Choreography/Movement – This category should be judged on effective use of choreography and movement in the production. Scores should be based on the following criteria:
•    Creating tone, mood and style that is conducive to the production as a whole
•    Originality of the choreography and/or movement
•    Theatricality of the choreography and/or movement
•    Choreography that effectively expresses the intent or state of being of the characters and the overall production
•    Overall effective use movement and/or dance

[The] Outstanding Performance Art… category should be judged on the overall production. Scores should be based on the following criteria:
•    The synthesis and cohesive vision of all production elements including design, direction and performance
•    Theatricality of the production
•    Effective integration and execution of multimedia elements
•    Overall effectiveness of the production
* Please note that the point of Performance Art is that it is unprecedented art.  Because of this it is nearly impossible to define. However it is generally agreed that  Performance Art should be relevant to today, employ unique forms of expression and illicit a response from its audience. Please take this into consideration when scoring this category.

“Thoughts on Judging” by Martin Denton
The most important thing I can say is this: No matter how terrible or misguided or perverse a show seems to be, always remember: they didn’t do it just to annoy you. …These artists are compelled to tell us something. Try to figure out what it is. Give them room to say it.

OMG lol GTG, but I hope you liked the Cliff’s Notes! They might be "food for thought" if you've never looked at our surprisingly thorough and official documentation. And, as always, contact me directly at the Judge Wangler address if you have an questions; txtspk not required.

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