Now that the retooled version of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has opened without incident, observers are free to turn their attention to another long-anticipated Broadway event: the gradual reemergence of ousted Spider-Man director Julie Taymor, who in recent weeks has been trying to correct the impression given by just about everyone (including collaborator and one-time ally Bono) that she was to blame for the $70 million production's excesses and delays.
So far, Taymor's approach has consisted of taking the high road. Earlier this month, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society filed a grievance on her behalf against the show's producers, claiming Taymor was owed $300,000 in unpaid royalties. Last Tuesday, she attended the official Broadway opening of the production, ostensibly as a show of support for the cast. (In today's New York Times, Patrick Healy characterized the appearance as Taymor's attempt to "rise above her conflicted feelings about [Bono and The Edge] and her dark opinion of the producers.")
Those dark feelings weren't on display Saturday when Taymor spoke publicly about the production for the first time at the Theatre Communications Group conference in Los Angeles. Instead, she presented herself as a victim of circumstances, an artist whose attempts to do good work were undone by the blogosphere and preview audiences. "Twitter and Facebook and blogging just trump you," she told the crowd. What about people who actually saw the show? Similarily unhelpful according to Taymor. "There's always something people don't like," she said. "It's very scary if people are going more towards that, to have audiences tell you how to make a show. Shakespeare would have been appalled."
As image reclamation strategies go, this is as good as any. But we're unsure about the wisdom of wrapping oneself in Shakespeare's cloak when you just spent $70 million on a play based on a comic book with actual flying.