Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process nurtures works-in-progress through a four-step, facilitated dialogue. The method was developed by the MacArthur winning choreographer Liz Lerman to work with dancers. Lerman calls it Critical Response. One process this project has found particularly effective for one-to-one teachers is Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process (CRP). The Critical Response.

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Wolf is a playwright, poet, and physician. Visit his blog, Just Add Father. Every so often, I read a blog post about how to listen to criticism. Recently there was a good one on this blog: More rarely do I run across suggestions for how to give feedback.

We have a specific way of criticizing our plays that has kept us on track. The method was developed by the MacArthur winning choreographer Liz Lerman to work with dancers. Lerman calls it Critical Response Process. The technique works for any sort of art, any writing.

In our group, we call it the Leerman Method. I use the word group here, but the method works just as well one-on-one. It works in person or in correspondence.

It works with any written form or genre. Also, the order is important. Opinions are the least helpful. You just say what you found meaningful, evocative, startling, or exciting in the work. You told me everything I oerman to know, and left the rest to my imagination.


Statements of meaning are helpful for writers at any stage of development. How can they help but be?

4 Steps to Useful Critiques: The Lerman Method

Beginning with positives has nothing to do with politeness or with sugarcoating bad news. Focused on the problems, they discount what comes easy.

What a writer does well is what she builds on. I went to a film once and cried. I thought it was a great film. Afterward, I read a critical review and learned all the things that the filmmaker had done wrong. I began to talk it down.

One of the other playwrights in my group happened to ask me about the film. I told her the whole story. You had a real response to it. It was important and genuine to you.

It was wordless, like a house burning, or an earthquake or a flood, or a woman getting out of a car, showing her legs. I was locked into my own habits, my own prejudices. Questions from the writer The writer asks, the group responds.

Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process — Transformative One-to-One

This begins a dialogue that supports the writer in solving problems on her own. Questions from the group members The group asks, the writer answers. Are you allowed to ask questions that may eesponse embedded opinions, such as involving awkward exposition?

Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Wolf Pascoe is a playwright, poet, and physician. You can read his essay the first half of it, anyway about what open drop ether was like in The Sun Magazine: He believes there are interesting ways to write about fathers and sons that do not involve charming videos, recommended products, or opinions about child rearing. I really, really like it. This is exactly the feedback I would like most on my own work. A few years ago, the playwright Richard Nelson nailed it.


He questioned the whole “fixing” enterprise and its pernicious effects on plays, playwriting and playwrights. This is such a valuable tool. I was lucky to be part of a hand-picked group of 4 that was incredibly supportive, but I had to pass through some other less than inspiring ones on the way. Most of the writer questions are from insecurity—is this working? Even very experienced writers have these kinds of questions.

In my reeponse group, I trust everyone there, and sometimes I get ten different opinions. And it really is better than the so-called “shit sandwich” that is a hallmark of too many workshops. You must be logged in to post a comment. This site uses Akismet ledman reduce spam.

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