Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Zona De Guerra/Touch

I've been seeing a lot of short shows lately, which strikes me as an unusual trend for some reason, though not one I'm going to complain about. A lot of intermissionless shows and even a surprising amount clocking in at 75 minutes or less. Companhia Triptal's Zona De Guerra (In The Zone) at the Goodman came in at around an hour and was a perfect example of why this could be such a good development. The show, in a loamy distillation of O'Neill's ability to thrive within the sparsity of testosterone and isolation, locks us into tight quarters with this impressively dirty, feral, and tightly wound cast. Less an exercise in plot than one in situation (we all know from the get-go where this is headed, that there's not actually anything resembling a bomb anywhere on the ship), the intensity is allowed to pull from the paranoiac crew -- how primal will they let these false accusations go and how can they return after it's gone too far? Or, to crib from a certain other masterpiece of ferality, who will survive and what will be left of them?

It's a marvel of skeletal, succinct theatre. Intimate introduction, rapid descent, and rocky landing, and in no time at all, we're back on the street, trying to both shed our sea legs and regain our trust in the strangers surrounding us, a task Triptal renders surprisingly difficult for us. One of my biggest fears going in to the show was that, already having bought my tickets for the other two of the company's Sea Play triptych, I would be disappointed by the first and have nothing to look forward to. Instead, I very much plan on enjoying spending two more weeks with these guys.


Toni Press-Coffman's Touch, now running at New Leaf, is a show that has all the makings of a impressive one act, if it weren't for that stubborn ol' Act Two. Touch's first act is front-loaded with a tale of love and loss, a 30+ minute monologue detailing astronomer Kyle's entire relationship with his now dead wife. It's a tale well told, brought forth by Dan Granata, who has repeatedly shown an uncanny knack for communing with the audience. If you're looking for someone to break fourth wall, Granata's your man -- his ability to instantly turn spectator into confidant is like none I've ever seen. So we take part in the intimate details of Kyle's love and marriage, learning the ups and the downs and then the tragic, fatal conclusion only hinted at through much of the first act. We become unreasonably attached to this man and his loss, and by the time the first act ends on a conclusive but open door, Granata has lead us by the hand straight up the perilous incline that is Kyle's back story. You could for many intents and purposes end the show at that point and the audience would leave with a long-living feeling of ache, but also recovery.

But Toni Press-Coffman says no. Toni Press-Coffman herds us back into the theatre and then bails on us. Now that we've staggered up a long and winding trail, she leads us to an elevator to get back down. After spending the first act painstakingly reliving the thrill, the ennui, the labor, and the nitty gritty detail of love, act two storms in the room with a big ol' ball of weighty cliche. Here there be hookers with hearts of gold, mysterious likenesses to dead folks, romances implausible in their speed, and a magical wrap-up everything's awesome in Hawaii (Hawaii?!?) ending that ignores three handfuls of loose ties, most of them emotional. Emotional ties that we weaved with Kyle in the first act. And he'll be fine not wrapping them up... he ends with the curtain. Not us, Toni. We carry that lack of closure with us into the cold, cold night.


Also to be mentioned: I was at Shattered Globe's The Little Foxes on Sunday, but the show had to be called at the top of act two when an actress became suddenly unwell. I don't know if I'll be able to make it back (the schedule is extremely tight as we go into tech for Handuffs), but I wanted to make a quick recommendation for the show based on the first act alone -- a powerhouse work draped around three pillaresque performances by Don Bender, Kevin Kenneally, and Linda Reiter. I hope the cast is all up on their feet again and if I get a chance to go back, I'll certainly write more, but regardless, this is a show worth seeing.


Speaking of shows worth seeing, ...And They Put Handcuffs On The Flowers is looming closer by the day. If you weren't already aware, this is a free show, which I mention in part because, Hey! It's a free show!, but also because, being a free show in a small space, reservations are required. Required as in Required. For real.

And not to play pushy, but we've already got a good deal of reservations made, the majority of which are not even in the family and friends crowd -- we've had inquiries from as far as Kansas City. So if you, family and friends, plan on coming, make your reservations now. I can't possibly express in text how excited I am for this show, so you'll have to trust me when I say you probably need to see it.

We run Thursdays through Sundays from February 5 - March 7th at The RBP Rorschach (a brand new space! three cheers for more performance spaces in Chicago!) directly on the corner of Irving Park and Ravenswood. And for all of you currently working in shows, we've got your back: seeing as how we can't really do industry discounts on a free show, we've instead designated the week of Feb. 23 - Mar. 1 as industry week. There will be no shows on Friday, Feb. 27 or Saturday, Feb. 28; instead, we will be performing an industry friendly schedule of Mon. 2/23, Wed. 2/25, Thu. 2/26, and Sun. 3/1. (We expect that Mon. and Wed. will go doubly fast, so you'll want to make those reservations today.)

Got questions? Want more information? Go to The Right Brain Project's website (to see me topless, no less). Or drop me line. Either way, we'll get you taken care of.


This week in Rekkland: Friday is Urwintore's The Investigation at Chicago Shakes, Saturday is Steep's In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, Sunday is Companhia Triptal's Longa Viagem De Volta Pra Casa (The Long Voyage Home) at the Goodman, and Monday is a double bill of ATC and Congo Square's True West and Topdog/Underdog.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Individual Memory: A Celebration For Hannah Weiner

Little surprises are always such a delight.

I went to the first weekend of Links Hall's When Does It Or You Begin? (Memory As Innovation) festival primarily to see Nicole LeGette's Butoh performance, which is always a riveting experience -- both LeGette and Butoh in general. I had long ago mentally connected Links Hall to dance, but have always been somewhat conscious that it's a hip little place to be. And looking at the program and the calendar ahead, it really is a cauldron of vanguard and underground performative fringe. Links Hall is a place to go to find somebody you've probably never heard of doing something you've probably never seen. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it's always innovative. (Including, in April, Cupola Bobber's next show, Way Out West, The Sea Whispered Me, which I stupidly forgot off my things to be excited for in 2009 list.)

The program I saw began with LeGette and then, in between readings of Weiner's poetry, moved to a short film by Abigail Child entitled Mirror World which was by turns entrancing, seductive, and overly repetitive. The program ended with a Hannah Weiner inspired 'avant garde lingerie show' which was disappointingly more silly and innocuous than one would expect. But then, as the fashion show wound down, the violist who had been very minimally accompanying it stayed on stage and broke into song -- a one woman fireball of delicacy. Everyone stopped breathing, she finished, bowed her head with a quiet 'Thank you', quickly left the stage, the lights went down, and the world burst into applause.

I went home, did a little onlinery, and discovered local violist/singer Anni Rossi, who also just so happens to have a deal with indie all-star label 4AD. You by all means need to check her out, but even more so, see her in person: she's absolutely mystifying. She's playing a free show at Schuba's on February 24. I'll be there. I hope to see you.


Monday, January 12, 2009

The Emperor Jones

I'm not a talkback kind of guy. I'm really not. For many of the reasons that came up recently over at Parabasis, I just can't stand the things. I love discussion, but I hate Q & A, and the talkback so often seems to become the latter. But, seeing the heated conversation caused all week by The Wooster Group's The Emperor Jones coming to town, and also seeing as how I loved the shit out of it, I thought this might be a worthy one to stick around for. It most certainly was, and I would have gladly sat with this crowd and talked for three, four times as long. In trying to tie my reactions to the show, the thoughts amassed from the talkback, and conversations I have had with other friends who have seen the show since then, I keep coming back to one point which, not surprisingly, has a bit to do with the topic of my last post.

In the talkback I attended, it was agreed upon by a black woman and a white woman that this was a show for a white audience. While I don't necessarily think they meant the same thing by that, I would be willing to agree. However, I think that age is actually an even bigger demographic issue with this show than race. As far as I am concerned, this is a piece that best serves an audience under the age of 40. Why? With this piece, Wooster Group has fully embraced the gall to ask the questions that two or three generations of pre-middle age America have been too uncomfortable to ask for years. Along with the heavy cloud of tension that hung over the talkback, there was a beam of relief -- a sense of a slightly wary but also eager "So, we can talk about this openly now, right?" And, honestly, while the group that stayed behind was of mixed age, almost all of the participants who both addressed the topic and seemed to glean a sense of progress from it were young.

In various conversations with a number of friends, a consistent topic was the fact that the ire raised by Emperor Jones has very little to do with the actual tactics that Wooster employs so much as the emotional and historical baggage linked to them. But what we are now seeing is the very beginning of the transfer of power in America to those who, while still aware of racial tension, have no memory of a time when racism was a publicly accepted act. The new wave of America is post-Civil Rights era, a chunk of the population for many of which the idea of Capital R racism is antiquated, replaced by a combination of socioeconomic injustice and an overabundant level of awareness of Other.

And so, when issues like these come up, when there's a flare-up over blackface or the word nigger/nigga, the new wave is confusedly sympathetic, because yes, we understand that these are artifacts which at one time were used to carry a message of hate. But at the same time, it also seems horribly obvious to us that the white members of an audience singing along at a Kanye West show are not spurred on by hate. And that The Wooster Group is not in the business of making theatre with the goal of mocking an entire race. But we don't say anything out of a sense of propriety. We don't feel we can say, "Hey, everyone, when you get down to it, nigger is a word just like any other", because we know so vast many people to whom it is not just a word, to whom it is a vivid reminder of when it was considered acceptable to treat others as subhuman, and how do you tell someone with those memories to learn to deal? You don't; you just leave well enough alone.

But there must be a point in time at which we say: This is our society, too, and we are not going to continue the mystification of the tools of racism simply because it makes you remember the worse days. We acknowledge that we can say the word nigger without hate, that we can put black makeup on our faces without spite, we can speak in yet another written dialect without mockery (And before you speak to me about the untruths of minstrelsy, get a consensus on American Southern in Chicago and tell me that those are accurate. Dialect is almost always a lie at heart). We also acknowledge that there are still those who may use those tools in the name of oppression, but that is a problem that arises from those people, not those tools. And, bottom line, this is our society, too, and it is a different society than it was early last century. And hey, previous generations -- as we attempt to unfurl and investigate the problems still before us, we have no time to place our own hurdles through respectful ignorance. So, you know, learn to deal.

This is largely what I heard The Wooster Group saying. They also furthered it by showing that a compelling character can still be created in the midst of these tools. (And also, props to Chris Piatt for making a mention of this as 'hip-hop theater' so I didn't have to. It amazes me that the musicality of the minstrel speak isn't a more discussed topic. It's an interesting counterpoint to Ebonics, which I find to be one of the most musical dialects there is.)

And yet, as I prepare to hit "Publish Post", I worry that this is too antipathetic to the current American (lack of) racial discussion. That this is something I can't put on the Internet, because god dammit, it's the Internet, and once I do, there's no turning back. That it's not my place to say any of the above. But, you know what? This is my society, too. And if the long-term goal is to eliminate racism entirely, which I always assumed it was, we can't allow ourselves to be manhandled by the racist tactics of those who have come before. So you're gonna have to learn to deal with this post, too.


This weekend: On Friday, I'm continuing my O'Neill exploration with Companhia Triptal's Zona De Guerra (In The Zone) at the Goodman; on Saturday, New Leaf's Touch; and on Sunday, Shattered Globe's The Little Foxes. You're going to also have to learn to deal with that, pal!


Friday, January 9, 2009

Because it needs be said

I initially thought I might wait until after seeing The Emperor Jones to post this, but I don't know what train of thought the show might send me on, so in case I don't end up talking about the whole racial kerfluffle the show is causing, here is a reposting of my thoughts from the comments section of Chris Jones' blog. This is mostly in response to the following comment from a Lena Brown:

"This is BEYOND racist! This does not spark discussion on race; it ridicules the history of oppression and injustice suffered by Black people in America. Whites in blackface can NEVER be anything but racist. Let me put in terms you can understand: What would be the reaction of Shakesperes play Merchant of Venice if it had the (already racist)character of Shylock (the Jew) played by an actor/actress dressed as HITLER! You need not reply because we all know the answer to that. The Goodman Theatre has just lost another patron."

Lena, if we're gonna throw Nazis into the picture, let's not be hypothetical, let's be historical -- race relations in America today, especially in the arts, are easily comparable to those in post WWII Germany. Our forebears committed atrocious acts and we've created a deafening silence in their wake because it's just easier not to talk about it. There is a contingency of black artists approaching the subject, but a massive lack of white artists doing the same, partly because they don't know how to approach the subject and partly because, as this is proving, investigating the sins of the fathers is still so closely equated with perpetrating them.

In order to enable the race discussion that this country still so desperately needs to surface, we need to acknowledge that there is such a thing as scholarly and artistic use of words and actions in order to discover how they became so charged and how to discharge them (note: discharge them, not shove them in a closet, which just hinders the conversation more). We need to work towards a society in which everyone can speak towards the racial problem frankly; in which we are aware, no matter how many black presidents we elect, that things are not a-ok and silence is not the way to fix them; in which panel discussions (and this is for you, Goodman) are not just peopled with minorities, because these are problems which affect everyone and which everyone should and is able to comment on with equal consideration.

The most frustrating part is that the groups, such as Third World Press, who are encouraging this boycott are exactly the ones who are dedicated to raising the same issues as Wooster Group is attempting. When even like minds are trying to create silence rather than sharing, what progress can there be? Dialogue does not happen by limiting vocabulary. This is an American problem. In order to move forward, we need to enable America to talk about it as a whole rather than further the division by dictating who does and does not have the right to speak on the subject.

That's the more that I didn't write earlier. And you're right, Lena, none of this NEEDS a reply, and come next week everything will go back to the way it was, because none of this will GET a reply. But it's not because everyone knows the answer. It's much worse than that: no one knows the answer and we're all too frightened of saying the wrong thing and getting a response like this to ask each other for help figuring it out.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Commedia Christmas Carol

Along with my Christmas Carol ignorance, I'll be the first to admit that I don't really know a whole lot about Commedia dell'Arte. I have a couple of very well-versed friends that I will leech information off of from time to time, but it's not my area of expertise in the least. When I saw Chicago dell'Arte's Murder, Murder, Murder earlier this year, it was a great surprise. Dispelling a lot of those preconceived notions I'm so good (or apparently bad) at, the show was funny, spontaneous, and very fresh. (It's also being remounted for three performances only at the Heartland Studio this weekend.) A Commedia Christmas Carol seemed an extension of Murder, Murder, Murder. But not necessarily in the best way.

In Christmas Carol, the aim appeared to be the same relaxed unstructure -- a story being told, yes, but with sense of distraction and self-comment that slowly becomes the show itself. But where Murder seemed oddly planned in its slapdash, Christmas Carol seemed even more thrown together than could be considered complimentary: a collection of "Insert joke here" pockets stitched on a story that we can safely assume that most everyone will know from the get go. Beyond that, the jokes inserted here seemed oddly familiar; many of them (even if not literally repeated) in timing and buildup and denouement reflected directly from Murder, Murder, Murder. I recognize that these are character archetypes which should look and act similarly from show to show, but I have to believe that Commedia as a comedic form provides more variety, if not in character or plot, than simply in humor, from show to show. Or perhaps not at all -- perhaps the problem is when the jokes become a point of insertion rather than a spontaneous eruption. That seemed to be the recurring problem. This show looked to be often searching for the combination of laxness and formality that anchored Murder, when the biggest credit towards Murder was that it never felt like it had to search for anything.

Worst of all, along the way there was more than one great idea trampled. The meta-plot in which Dottore, directing the show within a show, is haunted by the ghost light? Great setup! Dropped like a bad habit until much much later, to be used as a callback. The shadow puppet work? Very funny and surprisingly adept! Introduced from the depths of "where did that come from?" almost as quickly as it returns. There were original missteps, too (the entire loudly tiresome character of Fanuccia needs to go), but for the most part the show seemed an exercise in being so focused on what worked in the past that new ideas get passed by unstudied. Which is a helluva dangerous trap to navigate, but in a theatre world that constantly clamors for new work, a very important one to be aware of. Sometimes new work means forgetting old tactics.


And with that, the final show I saw in 2008, I can think of no more fitting way to bring the year to a close the same way as everyone else: a top ten. I figure I'm just organizationally anal enough and I definitely see enough theatre to swing one of these things, so here's my very own micro-notated Top 10 Audience Experiences of 2008.

10. Gatz (Elevator Repair Service) -- For making seven and a half hours feel like a very compelling two and a half.

9. Our Town (The Hypocrites) -- Because all the praise this production received was absolutely true.

8. The Mysterious Elephant And The Terrible Tragedy Of The Unlikely Addington Twins* (*Who Kill Him) (Strange Tree Group) -- For making me laugh harder than any show this year and then making me cry at an overload of beauty.

7. The Man Who Pictured Space From His Apartment (Cupola Bobber) -- For erasing the line between performance and reality.

6. The Return Of Tony Clifton And His Katrina Kiss My Ass Orchestra (Comic Relief) -- For erasing the line between performance and reality with a free shot of Jack Daniels.

5. Fragments (Chicago Shakespeare) -- Because, by itself, Kathryn Hunter performing Rockaby would have handily topped this list.

4. The Strangerer (Theater Oobleck) -- For understanding humanity and understanding the paradox of the ubermensch. And for living in that place where the gut meets the soul.

3. The Monotonix set at the Hideout Block Party -- Because in only 20 minutes, this band created an audience that was engaged more instantly and more enthusiastically than I have ever seen in any medium. There is a lesson that theatre can learn here as well.

2. Funk It Up About Nothin' (Chicago Shakespeare) -- For coming the closest to learning that lesson. The most fun to be had in a theatre in 2008. And off-the-shoulder intelligent to boot.

1. As Told By The Vivian Girls (Dog & Pony) -- Because I could have seen it a dozen more times and not gotten tired of it. Because, Jesus Christ, look what they pulled off!

There you go, the best of the best of the best. This is the stuff that lives on in memory. And because there are six shows beyond these that also made it to my Best of the Best sidebar, a few honorable mentions (in alphabetical order) to complete the 2008 Good Theatre in Chicago Compendium:


And how am I starting 2009? Hella exciting-like! Friday is Wooster Group's The Emperor Jones at the Goodman (Third World Press be damned), and Saturday is the Individual Memory: A Celebration For Hannah Weiner lineup at Links Hall's month long When Does It Or You Begin? (Memory As Innovation) Festival. Also, for those curious about the Monotonix mention above, the band is playing the Hideout on February 15th. I strongly urge you to attend for your own sake. There's Israeli men that need to be hoisted above people's heads.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Marriage Of Figaro/The Maids

Ah, the farce, the much-maligned farce, you just can't seem to be taken seriously.

Jonathan Berry, director of Remy Bumppo's The Marriage of Figaro, starts out his director's notes by explaining his hesitance to take on the show because of it's overwhelming silliness, which didn't feel proper in the world stage today. He goes on to illustrate how came to appreciate the show's pertinence, but it's an initial reaction worth noting as one that many, many people have. Farce is viewed as a fluff piece, without gravitas or even connection to the modern world. And yeah, that's the case with bad or unimaginative farce, but a farce like Beaumarchais' Marriage of Figaro is able to encompass all of the silly and whimsy as well as the greater depth. It's a light-handed approach, farce, a kill 'em with kindness of sorts, but while you may not exit the theatre overturning cars and lighting Molotovs, Beaumarchais leaves you with an anti-authoritarian feeling subtle enough to pass by unflagged. Sure, it's social unrest that attacks with all the speed of a clogging artery, but let it not be said that there's no place for slow and steady.

On the whole, the Remy Bumppo production performs its task quite well, with an unrelenting wheelspin of pre-bedroom foibles and multi-pronged plotting anchored by Joe Dempsey as the egotistical and chauvenistic but still two steps ahead Count. As long as the action stays fast and furious, the show manages to sweep us in along with it, but it's not entirely trusting of itself and stops jarringly at more than one point to give us a quick summation of what exactly The. Show. Is. About. Much of the problem seems to stem from Ranjit Bolt's translation/adaptation, which inserts screeds such as Figaro's rant on politics and the Count's summation of the lower classes in a show which is served best by slight pauses for breath, not long-windedness. Yet, I also have to question Berry's acceptance of these scenes at face value. The Marriage Of Figaro is a show that should be driven by an undercurrent of disrest, and for the most part it is just that. But when it tries to steer, both entertainment and effectivity fall by the wayside.


The program for Writer's Theatre's The Maids opens with a letter from Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kate Lipuma in which they set out the reasoning behind the decision to put up the show: primarily the passion director Jimmy McDermott has for the play. It's a heartening letter for those who share a passion for things a little less mainstream, but it also reads as a thinly veiled apology/fair warning for Writers' subscribers. A caveat emptor of sorts warning the North Shore that the show plays by its own rules. Not that I blame Halberstam and Lipuma -- this is one of the least compromising productions I've seen all year, and based on some of the initial reaction, the Writer's crowd at least in part aren't willing to play along. Which is too bad, because they're missing out on a helluva great show.

McDermott has allowed Genet to do the work here, which isn't a slight to him as a director at all. It takes a wise person to know when not to assert, when to just shut up and let a thing flow. Genet's dialogue along with Martin Crimp's translation work almost outside of time and place. The playwright explodes the fractions of seconds it takes for the human mind to act upon impluse and gives us a full force tour of the process. There are no 'what ifs' in Genet's world -- every option is given full weight. By the same token, no fully weighted option is ever quite graced with the privilege of actually happening. Genet's is a world of games and ceremony, performance and playacting. Everything is happening, but nothing actually happens. It's a maddening thing to try to put logic to, yet, because Genet's is also a world of power struggle and division, envy and sabotage, it's unsettling to allow it to call the shots. You risk a headache trying to shoehorn it, but almost guarantee a knotted stomach by immersing yourself in the soup.

And that's exactly why this show needs to be seen and by people looking for that immersion. The passion that McDermott so obviously has and that Halberstam and Lipuma forewarn is the type so in service of the show that it gains the ability to manifest itself physically in the audience. And that's a group effort: that comes from Genet's words and the labyrinthine beauty of his plotting, but also McDermott's soft hand and dreamlike details (the incessantly ticking alarm clock, leaving Claire in one black stocking), as well as all three performances (and especially Elizabeth Laidlaw's Solange, another labyrinth at work within Genet's) and Brian Sidney Bembridge's oppresively decadent boudoir set. You can't ask or expect this show to kowtow to your wants and needs, because it simply isn't concerned. And I couldn't applaud that more. Make your way up to Glencoe and let the art call the shots for once. It's a supreme experience.


So welcome to 2009, everybody! In honor of the new year, I'm taking quick stock of the upcoming year to check in on what's got me rarin' to go. Here's the briefest of brief rundowns on things I'm really looking forward to in '09:

  • Of course, the O'Neill Festival at the Goodman -- I'm counting the days at this point.
  • Steppenwolf's The Tempest -- Excuse me? Steppenwolf's first Shakespeare a 'reimagining' of The Tempest? You know something big's going down here.
  • Lookingglass' Our Town -- Yes, it needs to be more or less flawless to even be mentioned in the same breath as the Cromer edition, but I maintain that there's real potential for awesome here.
  • Next's War With The Newts -- Nevermind, then...
  • Northlight's The Lieutenant Of Inishmore -- I'm going purely off word of mouth, but some very trustworthy friends went head over heels for this show in New York, so here's to hoping for the same.
  • Circle's A Perfect Wedding and Tommy -- My experience at Circle so far hasn't really lived up to their accolades, so it's a bit odd for them to have two on here, but who am I to argue with Chuck Mee and The Who?
  • ATC and Congo Square's collaboration on True West and topdog/underdog -- Seeing as how I live less than a block from ATC, I have little reason to not explore this revolving rep.
  • 500 Clown and The Elephant Deal -- A new 500 Clown show? Say no more! I've also put a production of 500 Clown Christmas in Chicago proper on my wish list for next December, in case any of the Clowns are looking for some early gift ideas. I couldn't make it to the suburbs this year and it's the one 500 Clown show I have yet to see.
  • The Table at Chicago Shakespeare -- Chicago Shakes' World's Stage series is turning into some extremely promising programming, and this looks like the highlight this year.
  • And the rest of my MCA calendar -- I'm hitting chelfitsch's Five Days In March, Compagnie Marie Chouinard's Orpheus and Eurydice, and International Contemporary Ensemble's Xenakis and am brimming with anticipation. I can't make it to Dean & Britta's 13 Most Beautiful... Songs from Andy Warhol's 'Screen Tests', and that fact alone has a firm grip on 2009's biggest regret so far.
In addition, there are the projects that I am working on, all bound to be fantastic. I'm in rehearsals right now for Fernando Arrabal's ...And They Put Handcuffs On The Flowers with The Right Brain Project. I am playing the role of Pronos and I have to say that I am not only extremely excited about the work that's being done on stage by myself and everyone else, but I'm also confident that that old saw about a show being unlike anything you've ever seen before actually holds water with this one. It's a whole new thing. All the info is to the right in the "What Next?" section, and you'll definitely be hearing more as we get close to the Feb. 5 opening.

I'm also going to be working with Signal again for the first time since they asked me on board as an Artistic Associate, so that'll be a very happy return home. I'm going to be assistant directing our production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie which opens at the Chopin in March, and I will also be involved in some way, shape, or form as yet to be determined on our first production of the 09-10 season: Edward Albee's The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, going up late summer. (Was that a leak? Did he just leak that? Yes, I did. Tell your friends.)

All in all, a pretty god damn exciting year, no? I'm looking forward to it.