Breaking the 4th Wall

When a reviewer suggests that a young theater company is doing something “new” by breaking the fourth wall, I LMAO and also feel a bit of anger rise.

Darlings (she said in a patronizing tone) people have done this for decades if not centuries.  Please know your history.  You believe you are making “contemporary” theater or that your work is “edgy” because you have some nudity in it or that your ideas are “brilliant” because you are under 30.

The truth is that none of that is true and when reviewers buy your press (where you’re sure to use words like “exciting” and “amazing” when that is also not true) they show their own lack of knowledge, experience and just – well, good sense.

Breaking the 4th wall is not a new concept.  It’s not exciting.  It’s not amazing.  Whether the show has any merit at all will be determined not by these externals (which quite frankly to some of us are boring as hell we’ve seen them so many times) but by how affective your story/reality really is, whether you really have something to say and how connected your actors/performers are to that message.

Sure, go ahead.  Try a “new” form.  But best to be really thoughtful about how you describe it and not become too arrogant until you can be really sure you’ve created something breathtaking.