Asking for critiques is scary. After months of work, rehearsal, planning and organizing, I am fairly confident that I have a good show for my Summer Reading Program season. But I need to get another opinion. I realize that I'm too close to the project and that maybe I can't see a glaring flaw that may be right in front of me.
So, I call in my wife.
She will be brutally honest with me. Plus she has offered some wonderful suggestions which have improved my shows.
I also count on you, the librarian to tell me what you think of the show. And I want you to be brutally honest, too. Several years ago, the Omaha Public Libraries had their librarians fill out critique sheets on all of the Summer Reading Program performers. I was given copies of those sheets. Most of them gave me glowing reviews. Of course I loved that. But every now and then I was alerted to an area where I could improve. Maybe some people in the back had trouble hearing me or a librarian thought one of my tricks wasn't energetic enough. It's this kind of feedback that helps me tweak my show to be the best it can possibly be.
When I first started performing at libraries, I thought that a 30-minute show would be fine. Well, it wasn't long before I got feedback that librarians were disappointed in how short the show was. That's why today my shows are 40-45 minutes. A librarian friend of mine also told me that I had using a certain "red bag" three years in a row. I had used it for different tricks, but she recognized the item from previous years and I am so glad she pointed that out to me. The "red bag" has been on hiatus ever since.
Believe me, I really enjoy hearing nice things about my show; but if you see something I'm doing wrong, or something I could do to improve my show, please don't hesitate to let me know. I won't be offended...in fact, I'll be grateful that you pointed something out that maybe I just didn't see.