The Inner Circle: Spidey and bylaws
Tue Feb 1 2011
The New York Drama Critics' Circle just concluded a meeting that was originally intended to be a thoroughly unremarkable discussion about changes to the bylaws that govern our annual voting for the Best Play, Best Foreign/American Play and Best Musical prizes, but which attained a small measure of newsworthiness, as happens these days, by the presence of Spider-Man on the agenda. First things first: In an unusual display of unity, the group voted unanimously to approve a bylaw change that would limit candidates on the fourth ballot of voting to the four candidates that had received the most points on the third ballot...and you're already yawning at the arcane technicality of this particular point, as you can hardly be blamed for doing. Suffice to say, the change should make it somewhat easier for the group to reach a consensus on awards in the future. On the question of Spider-Man, however, no such agreement was in evidence. Meetings are confidential, so I can only say that the discussion was spirited but that we did not resolve to stick to any specific course of action as a group on the question of when to review the show, whose preview period has been extended multiple times. We remain, in the end, a loose affiliation of highly opinionated individuals—some of whom have already staked out public positions on the issues in question—with strongly held personal beliefs as well as differing editorial pressures beyond our control. As appealing as the notion might have been that we could somehow band together under a common philosophy, we remain fundamentally resistant to collective action. Although certain general guidelines about our respective coverage of Spider-Man were floated at the meeting, it is hard to say if any really landed—or, if they did, what such a landing might even mean on a ground that shifts so quickly.