Colm Magner is a playwright, actor, director and teacher.
Magner can now add theatre critic to his resume.
This week, Magner joins The Guardian as the media company’s theatre critic through his column “In the Wings.”
Magner has written five stage plays produced in Canada and the U.S. His latest play, “The Scavenger’s Daughter”, received two critically acclaimed productions in New York. He was described by author/filmmaker Colin Broderick as possessing “the same vibrancy, insight, humour and vulnerability as the dramatic monologist Spalding Gray.”
Working in theatre, film and television for more than 30 years, including principal roles at the Shaw Festival, Magner has a unique insight into the challenges faced by theatre practitioners as they translate plays from the page to the stage.
It takes different perspectives to make an audience, and different critics may have varied responses to the same play.
“What is consistent is that good theatre is carefully crafted, thoughtfully directed, passionately acted, well written and incredibly challenging to create,” said Magner.
“Bad theatre is none of those things and leads to a lot of hand-wringing, furtive glances at the watch and desperate visits to the nearest pub shortly after curtain call.”
Wayne Thibodeau, managing editor of The Guardian and regional editor for TC Media in Prince Edward Island, said he’s pleased to have somebody of Magner’s talent and experience on The Guardian’s team.
“We have challenged Colm to give us a no holds barred look at theatre in Prince Edward Island,” said Thibodeau.
“If it’s good, let’s celebrate it in the pages of The Guardian. If it’s not, let’s be honest with our readers.”
Magner looks forward to writing reviews that examine all the components of a successful theatrical production and whether it delivers an effective interpretation of the playwright’s vision.
“It’s important to have standards, so patrons know where to spend their hard-earned money, and practitioners are encouraged to aspire to world-class levels of expertise,” he said.
“Calling poor work, good work only does a disservice to everyone involved, especially ticket buyers.”