Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our Town/Speech and Debate

So here's the scoop -- I've figured out how I think of what's going on on the blog: not reviewing or critiquing so much as analyzing. The what will definitely come up, but the driving force is the how and the why. As such, spoilers are bound to occur. Many apologies, but I'm severely limiting myself if I have to tiptoe around major plot points or staging techniques as I figure out why things worked and didn't. And I'm not going to worry about writing out a warning in all caps every time I'm revealing something, so here's the official catch-all warning: if you're particularly spoiler-wary, don't read my blog until after you've seen the show. From here on out you're on your own.

Our Town and Speech and Debate: what a fascinating double feature! I'll run down Our Town first, then toss in the compare and contrasts...

I hung around after Our Town specifically to stop and thank David Cromer but also to let him know that the show was one of the most frustrating theatre experiences I've had, in a completely complimentary way. The first two acts were finely acted, intimate, heart-shattering theatre. Heart-shattering because, like most people who have or will see this show, I was playing towards the end. Heart-shattering because I knew that Emily was going to die and that I knew that nobody I was watching was realizing life to its fullest - every, every minute. Which allowed for the tragedy of the everyday to sink in. There was no melodrama, no over emoting; Cromer (in a Stage Manager turn every bit as great as his direction) and his cast (especially Jennifer Grace, who it turns out I have a total crush on, as Emily) play this honest to the teeth. The understatement couldn't be better handled -- Cromer knows that 99% of his audience is already familiar with the script, and the lack of build allows us to set ourselves up for the rug that we know is about to be pulled out. I was crying by the wedding scene (and I certainly wasn't alone), partially because of the bittersweet beauty, but just as much because I knew how important this minute (every, every minute) was within the world of the play.

And then the infamous third act hit. And Emily arrived in the graveyard. And all was a hush and subdued. I hadn't had the third act spoiled for me, but I had read the reviews, so I knew something big was about to happen. And so, when it did, I wasn't taken aback so much as instantly in the game trying to figure out how this was going to work within the show as a whole. Cromer pulled back the curtain revealing the fully stocked kitchen and Ms. Webb started actually frying bacon and Emily realized her mistake in going back and all I could wonder was why I wasn't more emotionally enveloped. I was aware of just how perfectly everything was working on a technical level and how great the concept was, but I, who had just been crying at the end of Act 2, was suddenly not emotionally invested at all during what I knew to be the most gut-wrenching part of the play. I was confused and frustrated (more with myself at this point) and so I tried to parse out exactly why this was happening -- because the full kitchen was placed so distant from most of the audience; because it was also awkwardly placed within the basement, requiring many (including myself) to lean in order to not have the view be completely blocked by a column; because it was so strongly backlit, not allow for me to register any faces; because it was going so damn fast.

Then, by the time I had made these realizations, Emily was back in her grave, George was crying, and Cromer, quickly and with no fuss, was bidding us good night into the first blackout of the evening. And that's when the frustration transferred from myself to the production and negative to positive. Two seconds in black made me realize that Cromer had effectively pulled that rug, the one I thought I was so aware of, from under my feet anyway. I had become so engrossed with the emotional core of the first two acts -- the emotional core that I only knew because I was living a show I was familiar with over again -- that I was, in essence, viewing it as a surrogate Emily from the grave. And when I expected more of the same from the third act, it was purposely distanced from me, denied from me, and continued on without allow me to readjust. By the time the show was so abruptly over, I had missed my opportunity to 'live' the third act because I spent so much time trying to align it with the experience of the first two acts.

Even more devious, and what I hope is a sly, knowing wink from Cromer, is the fact that the act I was too caught up in to actually 'live' is the one that was only a step or two away from real life. Despite the fact that there was actual bacon, eggs and coffee being cooked and a full set and exterior constructed where there had merely been tables, I was unable to appreciate what was happening because I had forced myself into such a limited pattern in such a short amount of time.

It's a horrible trick, and a masterful one, a way of being affected as an audience member that I hadn't received before -- not necessarily superlative, simply alternative. There's something genius lying in there in regards to playing off not only the audience's preconceived notion of a piece, but also simply their knowledge. And something about not playing towards the end, but not playing against it, either -- simply playing into it. And something about not cutting an audience any slack: the greatest respect you can offer to an audience is to trust that they will keep up, even when you know they won't.

That's the feeling that led me into Speech and Debate, and I don't know that I could have found a show more removed from Our Town. Speech and Debate falls in that genre of art that shows adults how, despite their best intentions, they just don't understand adolescents. You know, one of those works that also happens to be written and performed by adults that, despite their best intentions, just don't understand adolescents.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great show (more on that in a moment), it's just not at all what it's pretending to be. The three high schoolers this show revolves around aren't going to give Generation Anything any true insight into today's teenagers because these aren't today's teenagers. They're plot movers, characters written to drive a story, characters whose every action is in place to play to the curtain, after which their lives will dissipate. Which is all fine and good -- it's the same vein of realism that holds the majority of 20th century playwrighting: realism that allows us to compartmentalize the real, without actually representing it. And once I gave into that fact (and it didn't take long, it's a very strong production), I was absolutely on board. But that's what makes it such an interesting double bill with Our Town.

I hear it said quite frequently that the story is what theatre (and other forms) boils down to. That a good story can overcome many other lacking aspects, but rarely can other aspects overcome a lacking story. It's a line that's never sat well with me, but I've held my tongue, as I couldn't completely determine why. Well, I've determined why. It's a line that only applies to Kitchen Sink Realism and the like (never genres that have been terribly high on my list). The story is the cornerstone if the play is about the story, and if the play is about the story, then it's not about real life. It's the 'realism that's not real' thing all over again. Speech and Debate is about the story: the weaving in and out of these characters, the coincidences, the secrets, and the actions taken act as another tie on the railroad speeding towards the conclusion.

Our Town, on the other hand, has a shit story: menial as all hell. But that's not a problem for Wilder, because his show isn't about the story, it's about the importance of the lack of a story (or story within the lack of a story). What actually happens to the Gibbs and Webb families in the first two acts doesn't matter a lick. What matters is that they weren't paying attention while it was happening. And, as witnessed by George's unspoken, uncertain, undefined crying at the end of the show, they will keep on not paying attention, and what they actually keep on not paying attention to still doesn't matter a lick.

So why does this all sound so negative towards Speech and Debate if I claim to have enjoyed it? It's not really a major problem, and it has nothing to do with the production itself. It's more the genre I'm interested in -- "What Teenagers Are Really Like" is a common theme, and it's almost universally bullshit. Speech and Debate has adults playacting at teenage tropes that have a few moments of uncharacteristic behavior to throw in a "never know what's gonna happen with those wacky teens" feeling. And aside from a few overplayed 'adults are so out of the loop' in-jokes towards the end, it does what it does tremendously. All three teens are great, with Sadieh Rifai's Diwata leading the way and offering the production's few moments of true glimpses into adolescent life: moments like her hopeless denial of having had an abortion or a podcast sequence that, on occasion, steers into the joyous naivety of (or apathy to) the truly wide snatches of the digital age. But it doesn't do what it tells us it's doing -- when Solomon stands alone at the end of the show, staring at a computer screen devoid of any responses to his question, "Is anybody out there?", we aren't seeing an adolescent dilemma, we're seeing a human dilemma, and trying to paint it any other way only cheats both sides.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Boneyard Prayer

I have a lot of interesting things to say about Our Town and Speech and Debate, especially in regards to each other, so I'll save the mammoth post for tomorrow. And I unfortunately ended up missing Lipstick Traces, so we're down to one.

As I mentioned last week, Boneyard Prayer was the first Redmoon show I've seen, but I was very aware of the Redmoon aesthetic going in. Yet I can't help but wonder at what point in time an aesthetic no longer needs to justify itself. Do we do puppets because puppets is what we do or do we do puppets because puppets are the best way to convey the show we want to convey?

Maybe it was just the dust bowl theme that wasn't grabbing me or maybe it was me coming off of a matinee of ATC's Speech and Debate, but Boneyard Prayer just didn't do much for me. I truly think that part of the problem was the switching back and forth between puppet and live representations of the characters, which in turn never really allowed me to feel like I knew either. For a one hour show, it just seemed to plod and slog along through what should have been a dramatic script. And there might lie the problem -- the Great Depression atmosphere created is so heavy and oppressive that by the time the big reveal comes, an infant's death seems like a minor ordeal. It doesn't feel, as it should, like the linchpin for all of the dreariness in the show; it's just another of many reasons the world sucks for these characters.


This week's tentative (I feel the need to add the disclaimer as both Per Diem and Signal obligations pick up) schedule: Raven's Laughter on the 23rd Floor on Thursday, Theatre Oobleck's The Strangerer on Saturday, and Halcyon's Henry IV on Sunday. Let's hear it for normal viewing schedules!


Friday, May 23, 2008

Pt. 2/As Told by the Vivian Girls

How art has destroyed science, example 2:

If you can't beat 'em, co-opt 'em:


At the risk of sounding like a broken record: go see Dog and Pony's As Told by the Vivian Girls. As of right now, you only have three more chances. I saw it again last night and witnessed an entirely different show -- and one that was just as affecting.

The concept, for those uninitiated: Dog and Pony has put up a show not at but throughout Theatre on the Lake. Henry Darger's fantasy world of child slaves, the army that keeps them, and the creatures living without is recreated (along with Darger himself) in the space as a whole, with the audience left to their own devices to go where they please and follow who they please in what is being billed as a sort of 'choose your own adventure' theatrical experience.

What this translates to is a piece which, when approached with a game and enthusiastic mind, provides infinite returns. A piece in which it is not only impossible to see everything on one go through (or even two, as I can attest), but in which every audience member sees (in the most basic, physical sense of the word) an entirely different show with different character hierarchies, different emotional inlets, and, to be utterly reductive, different points of view. On top of that fact, the entire audience also wears simple paper cut-out little girl masks throughout the show -- which is so very much more effective than it might sound.

The only way I feel I can truly approach this is to begin with my first experience and slowly incorporate the second.

The audience last night was about three times the size of the audience I saw it with the week before. (The concept allows the show to basically play to mass capacity of the building, meaning no worries of selling out -- I heard tell that the audience topped 150 this past Wednesday.) This kicks a lot of ass for Dog and Pony, but is a little unfortunate for the show itself, as the more packed the space gets, the trickier it is to navigate in some of the smaller upstairs areas.

The audience present at the first showing was about ideal, probably in the 30-40 range. This allowed for both a true sense of discovery and at other moments a sense of audience community. Before the story is set into motion, there is a 15 minute "prologue", which is basically the performers keeping time to allow the audience to get their bearings within the space. The wonder starts immediately. As I was trying to get the lay of the land, I wandered up to a crow's nest/queen's box area overlooking the main space, I found who I would later discover to be Penrod (Jamie Abelson, in a breathtaking 180 from his force of nature work in Raven's columbinus) sitting all alone, weeping. I'm fairly certain I was the first person to come across him (I was quite proactive in my exploration), and I sat there watching him spell out 'ALL ALONE IN THE WORLD' from shreds of newspaper and weeping silently. And in those quiet moments, the beauty of the conceit fully sank its claws into me -- to the point where I'm actually getting a little teary-eyed just reliving the experience right now. There was the understanding that this, like so many other things in the theatre, had been and would continue to take place with or without me. And there was the beauty of the intimacy between just the two of us, me behind my mask as observer and he, completely and truly all alone in his world: audience immersion in a fourth wall setting is a strange thing, both unsettling and endearing in its voyeuristic nature. And then there was the thrill in knowing that, among these 30-40 people, I was the only one who would be able to witness the rest of the show and, eventually, leave the theatre that evening with a knowledge of these moments.

I left again before anyone else came, but by that point the game was on. I was connected to the story and to these characters and weaved in and out of scenes, stopping to take in the moment, picking up on snatches of information and realizing in turn that meant that somewhere else something I wanted to see was about to or already happening. Moments such as the realization that every character was accounted for except for Penrod (who for the rest of the show felt a little like my secret), leading me to head back to his queen's box to check up on him. Moments such as arriving at the queen's box and having Penrod nowhere to be found. The shock was instantaneous. This character -- the one I had discovered -- was somewhere in the building, and I didn't know where. At that moment, nothing was more important than finding Penrod back. I shot down the stairs and across the main (now empty) floor at almost a sprint, only to head to the second level and find him, and a good chunk of the audience, in the process of freeing the Vivian girls. And suddenly my secret was their secret instead.

By about a third of the way into the piece (and right around the first of two major battles on the main floor), I started to get a feel for the place and suddenly found myself, along with a couple of other anonymous masked individuals, preempting the action. If a couple of soldiers were going upstairs, I'd find myself hurrying to the less used spiral staircase to get there ahead of them; even more so if I knew there were Vivian girls already upstairs, to ensure I was there for the conflict. If I heard Penrod talking about how a couple of the girls had gone out to spy on the soldiers, I found myself scurrying off to find them with an uncertain urge that this is something I might want to see. There was a point last night when I saw my roommate sprint across the space -- it was the only moment I noticed him all night -- and a smile flashed across my face, because I knew it was working for him as much as it was for me and because I also really wanted to know who or what it was that he was so invested in. (It turned out to be a story thread that I didn't see either night, making me all the more jealous.)

And then there's the X-factor: Henry Darger (Greg Hardigan in another shining performance in a uniformly excellent cast). Darger spends much of the time in a small stand-alone mock-up of his apartment constructed to allow easy access viewing from all four sides. He narrates the action in the building, creating it on his typewriter as it takes place elsewhere. After a while he comes out spends some time in the space as well, operating on in a simultaneous but freestanding plane from the rest of the cast: not necessarily interacting with them, but working in unaware tangent as their actions emanate from his mind. Darger is also the character that lifts the show from brilliant immersive theatre to transcendental immersive theatre in one fell swoop at the climax of the show. It's the only moment aside from curtain that all of the characters are in one place at one time and it is the single best representation of the mind of the artist that I have ever had the privilege to see. Its unerring depth and spectrum of emotion had me sobbing openly behind my mask both times, and led to the following conversation after last night's show, which I think is about as succinct a representation of the show as one is likely to find.

Referring the scene in question, one of my friends said, "It was so...", followed by a slight pause, "...sad."

Her boyfriend responded, "Really? It made me feel kind of...", followed by a slight pause, "...warm and fuzzy."

And I knew not only that they were both right, but that they knew that they were both right.

And I knew that in those slight pauses lie everything in between -- an entire world of personal experience and association and history that led to that reaction on this one particular evening. A beautiful world unto its own, beautiful in its uniqueness, beautiful in that nobody else would ever truly experience life in exactly the same way.

And I knew that Henry Darger lived his life in those slight pauses. As Told by the Vivian Girls had simply laid it out for us; saying everything, but saying nothing. And that was all it needed to say.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Change of Plans/Nunsense

I came to the realization last night (yes, after Nunsense) that seeing all the theatre I'm seeing is of no use if I don't maintain any sort of record of my thoughts about the shows I'm seeing. So, while it may not be full on reviewing, I will be keeping track of thoughts of note or reactions of interest to everything I see. This is for me. This is for me to keep track of what works for me and what doesn't; what is revelatory to me and why; what is hideous to me and why; and how this can affect my work in the future (that last one may end up as more of a mental exercise on my end, but know that it's there nonetheless). Of course, while this is for me, the reason I'm placing it in public view is because I hope (or at least want to allow) for it to be a springboard for other ideas as well. So feel free to jump on board at any time.

Also, just a note in the wake of the Don Hall review controversy bonanza: I will be plainly honest in these. I may not have the same polarizing writing style as Don, but if something doesn't work for me, I'm gonna say it straight out. Every Monday or Tuesday, I lay out my upcoming calendar, so if you know I'm coming to something you're involved in and you absolutely don't want me to write about, just let me know right away. I've been there, I understand.

With that, it all begins with Nunsense -- who'd a thunk?

Nunsense isn't my bag. I knew that going in. Hell, I knew walking into the Marriott that almost anything put up there probably isn't my bag. So the fact that the script is pun-heavy and broad and, let's face it, not particularly funny didn't surprise me. What surprised me is that the ladies on stage were almost always content with playing pun-heavy, broad, and not particularly funny. I hesitate to use the term, but the script's 'strength' is the punchline. It's already written in; there's no missing these jokes, you couldn't if you tried. And what the majority of the actresses (and the director is just as at fault) have done is hone in on the punchline and play it for all it's worth. The theory is sound -- we know what the script has going for it, let's make sure we feature it -- but in practice it only weighs down an already lop-sided script.

In fact, they weighed it so heavy that the few moments the script does set aside for emotional effect were all but bowled over. The single moment of emotional honesty in the whole show didn't come until the second to the last song of the show. The disjointed second act sputtered along from set-up to set-up until Abby Mueller stepped in with Sister Mary Amnesia's "I Could've Gone to Nashville", a song with some intimacy to it, but by all means comedic as well. Yet, as I'm listening to her discovery, I start to feel that little bit of welling rising up in my chest -- that feeling that had been completely absent in the show so far: genuine interest in these characters as people. At that moment I was a little bit shocked. Not because in that second Nunsense had struck a heartstring, but because I realized that until that second Nunsense had managed to, with overbearing joke after overbearing joke, beat me into a place where I just sat and stared, no longer asking for that personal connection. And then the song ended, the moment passed, the requisite big closing song and dance was rolled out and two-thirds of the audience rose to their feet for a standing ovation.

That's when I realized that, for most of them, theatre had become (or always was, who knows?) a routine and that standing was simply their part to play. That a good chunk of them had probably stood for more shows than sat. And I could only wonder then how many of them had been beat into that same place; how many of them had always been ritualized and how many had to be forced there by years of unsubtle shows about nuns. And (how) can we fix that for those who have?


Monday, May 19, 2008

Play and Counterplay

Interesting theatre experience yesterday: I caught a matinee of Enchanted April at Circle and then went straight to The Building Stage's Master Builder, which I had grabbed a ticket to late last week. It was very much a yin and yang Sunday -- Enchanted April is a great production with solid performances and more or less everything required is firmly in place. But it's absolute (ladies, you'll have to pardon the term) chick-lit theatre piffle. As vacuous a show as vacuous can be. Master Builder seemed very skeletal and was quite muddled at times, but obviously had some ideas and, dare I say, entrails to it. Something was being mined from Ibsen as we watched. It didn't always come out cleanly, but clean isn't exactly how mining works.

So which was better? And how do you even compare the two? Circle had consistency on their side, but never moved beyond consistent. More than once The Building Stage lost my interest, but the select moments that they did strike gold, they struck gold hard. Were I stuck, like most critics, to a strict rating system, they probably would have gotten the same amount of stars, but that seems completely inadequate.

I think the biggest question it raises in my mind is whether, when I buy a ticket, I am paying for a finished product or for a peek at a product being discovered. I think I'm prone to the second, personally. I am most attracted, as creator and audience both, to a Cassavetes style of approach, in which everyone involved in the show knows from the outset what exactly is going to happen, but how it's going to happen is bound to bring new discoveries, and the best approach is to allow your self to work within and alongside those discoveries. I'll take a finished product, no doubt, but there's some doubly exciting about knowing that what is taking place on stage is happening because it's happening, not because the performers are making it happen.


My further plumbing of thoughts on As Told by the Vivian Girls has been postponed. Last Thursday, I tried to gamble with Time and Time, assisted by Rush Hour Traffic owned my ass. So I've done some more calendar switching and will be seeing the show for the second time on this Thursday instead. Further commentary will ensue.

Speaking of which, I am tremendously excited about this weekend's schedule. Because everything and its mother is closing on the 25th, it's my second weekend of insane scheduling before easing into a little more relaxed pace. But I'm knocking off a large chunk of my must-see list this week and am looking to be knocked off my feet more than once. Tomorrow night is WNEP's RAW, Wednesday is opening night of Nunsense at the Marriott (you read that correctly -- it's kinda amazing what comp tickets and a friend in the show will get me out to), Thursday is my encore performance of Dog and Pony's As Told by the Vivian Girls, Friday is THE current hot ticket Chicago show -- The Hypocrites' Our Town, Saturday is a double feature of American Theatre Company's much-lauded Speech and Debate and Redmoon's Boneyard Prayer (my first Redmoon experience; for shame, I know). And closing it out on Sunday night is Pavement Group's Lipstick Traces.

It's a motley crew, and I'm pumped.


Sad epilogue: Robert Rauschenberg passes away and the world barely bats an eye. I don't know what I was expecting, but I'm saddened nonetheless.


Thursday, May 15, 2008


Go see As Told by the Vivian Girls. It closes on the 25th, and odds are you're going to want to see it more than once, so go see it soon. I'll go more in depth on Monday or Tuesday during my weekend wrapup, but this show needs to be seen.

Tonight is the only night that me and my roommate could both make it, so Die! Mommie, Die! has been postponed and I'll be having an encore performance of As Told by the Vivian Girls this evening instead. If anyone else wants to join us, this is the sort of show I'd love to be able to chat about afterwards.

I'm serious. Drop whatever plans you have and go see As Told by the Vivian Girls. You'll thank me. You'll thank Dog and Pony even more.

Also, because apparently one free day is one free day too many, I've also picked up a ticket for Circle's Enchanted April on Sunday. Whee, suburbs.

Go see As Told by the Vivian Girls!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Scattered thoughts

First, random philosophizing:

How art has destroyed science, example 1:

Newton's apple fell unavoidably. Gravity was born.

Magritte's apple shall never fall. Gravity was defeated.


Second, theatregoing extravaganza:

As everyone spitter-spats about how and how in depth and with what tone we discuss other artist's work, I've decided to only mention revelations I see onstage or have as a result of what I see onstage. First revelation: I need to read me some more Durrenmatt. Play Strindberg is a devastating script.

I am going to keep online tabs on my upcoming show intake, though, partially as another form of day planner for my needs and partially because I'm one of those people who almost regularly ends up going to shows alone. So hey, if anyone's going to happen to be (or would like to be) at anything when I happen to be there, feel free to let me know -- I like theatre buddies, too! So, in my neverending rage against the neverending storm of shows to see, I'm squeezing in four this week: Dog and Pony's As Told by the Vivian Girls on Wednesday, Hell in a Handbag's Die! Mommie, Die! on Thursday, Infamous Commonwealth's Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates on Friday, and Vitalist's A Passage to India on Saturday. And if you think that's eclectic, just wait until next week...

I may also, depending largely on when I get out of and how I feel after Lewis and Clark, join some friends at Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. It is in shame that I say (much like being a cinephile who hadn't see any of the Godfather trilogy until post-college) that in my going on three years in the Windy City, three years spent championing underground, indie-style, what can we do that people still haven't seen type theatre, I have yet to step foot in the Neofuturarium. I hang my head in shame. We'll see if I can fix that this weekend.


Third, the big news! (*confetti and noisemakers drop from the ceiling*):

I (under the shady auspices of Bries Vannon) have been graciously offered and have humbly accepted a spot as an Artistic Associate with Signal Ensemble Theatre. This weekend I was talking to a friend who recently began work on a jaw-droppingly amazing show opportunity, and she mentioned that it feels weird to even talk about it, as if it might disappear if it becomes too tangible. I know exactly what she's talking about. I almost didn't even share the news on here, opting to wait until everything's properly integrated and the new news is actually old hat. It's like I'm holding a secret and I can't be sure it actually exists because if I share it, it won't be a secret anymore. So if I am no longer an Artistic Associate tomorrow, blog-friends, you will be holding all of the blame.

Honestly, I truly truly truly couldn't be more excited. Between Faster, Per Diem, and now Signal, this is shaping up to be a touchstone year in the life. As much as I love you, blog peeps, and as much as I love mah Per Diem boys, and as much as I love other things like puppy dogs and pound cake, the guys and gals at Signal are my true Chicago family, and I never realized this more until the night they asked me to be a part of them. Two and a half years ago they took a chance on casting some random gangly blond kid who was brand new to the city and the city hasn't quite been the same since.

But enough mushy stuff. Let's make some fukkin' art!



Rest in peace, Robert. The world will reflect a little less without you.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

I'll keep repeating it if I have to...

If you're not destroying, you can't create. If you're not creating, you can't destroy.

And by the same token, if you are destroying, you are also creating. If you're creating, you are also destroying.

The point is not to reconcile the creation and the destruction or find a happy medium between them. The point is simply to be aware of both simultaneously.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Sound and The Fury

Creation through destruction and destruction through creation, blogosphere.

Creation through destruction and destruction through creation.


Other notes: I've taken it upon myself to see much, much, much more theatre than I have been as of late. I've realized that my image of myself has transitioned from pawn in the Chicago theatrical scene to someone with an active voice in whatever direction it may be headed at any moment. And I need to take way more in to truly keep an eye on that barometer. This weekend I'm playing catch up with On My Parents' One Hundredth Wedding Anniversary at the side project and Play Strindberg and The Secret Agent by Organic Theatre, and the rest of May is already more or less booked. I know I won't be writing about everything I see, and I may not write about anything I see -- I have no interest in reviewing, but I also have great interest in my own opinions. We'll see what comes about.

Also, I have a wonderful piece of news to share, but I can't do so until next week. So there -- I taunt you with the prospect of congratulating me -- but for what? The world may never know. Until sometime next week, that is.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Requisite Jeff Awards post

Big congrats to Stephen Ptacek for his nod for Faster's Sound Design. Personally, I think he also deserved a second category all his own: Best Sound Design That Will Make You Shit Yourself And Question Your Very Safety. Y'all know what I'm talking about.

And, since I have no shame about showing my blatant biases, a few congrats to friends, colleagues, or simply people I think deserve the recognition:

- Signal Ensemble Theatre, for rocking the joint with their seven nods (5 for 1776, 2 for Old Wicked Songs)

- Joel Stanley Huff for his supporting role in Tesla's Letters (I didn't get to see it, unfortunately, but Joel's a stand-up guy and I have no doubt he was amazing.)

- Grant Sabin's scenic design for Mr. Marmalade (didn't see this one either, but if Grant's not gonna get one for his beauty of a creepy set for Faster, he more than deserves to be there for something)

Yay, recognizing excellence!