Monday, August 31, 2009

You're Welcome

The Equity Jeff nominations are up and I want you to know, loyal readers, that I called two of them way in advance.

Lance Baker is nominated for his work on Mauritius, which I drooled over here.

And Matthew Gawryk is nominated his lighting design of The Unseen, a small sliver of which I drooled over here.

Also, mad genius Steve Tolin got a nomination for the special effects on Lieutenant of Inishmore, was it because of the perfectly life-like cat puppetry? Well, who's to say...

But, really, congratulations to all the nominees.

Back with a Bang

Two new items up at TheatreInChicago. The first is a podcast about interning in theater, it features Kirsten Fitzgerald, artistic director of A Red Orchid Theatre, Josh Sobel (a new intern at AROT), and Jason Gerace, artistic associate of American Theater Company. It a really interesting conversation about the role of interns in organizations and the role of interning in building a career in theater. Enjoy.

The second is the newest Full Storefrontal article, this one's on New Leaf. Enjoy it, too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Fodder in Thinking about Criticism

Regular Guy reviews movies for WXRT. Neil Cumpston reviews 300 for Aint It Cool News (Very NSFW).

Both of these are instances of criticism with two additional, arguably even alternative, functions to what we might call "mainstream criticism." That is, these reviews consciously construct a character separate from the reviewer's personality and they function as entertainment in their own right.

But. They still are works of criticism, right? Similarly, Dan Neil is a wonderful critic and has been honored with a Pulitzer Prize. I read his columns as often as I can. What's the problem? He's a car critic. I don't know anything about cars, I don't particularly care about them, and I'm not looking to buy one. His reviews are really for me just essays, entertainment. Could a literary critic review them? Could a critic review Chris Jones' reviews? I suppose that I have, actually, done that, but obviously not in a serious way.

As a reminder, I like to think of art as a skill developed beyond any practical use. Can art function as a guide to art?


And what can these artful reviews teach us about criticism in the mainstream?

Red Tape

The new Full Storefrontal is up at Theatre In Chicago. Delight!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I've now noticed ATC refer to itself as Chicago's Public Theater two times. This is really interesting to me for a couple of reasons. I wonder what specifically they think that means both for themselves and for their audience. Artistic Director PJ Paparelli worked there early in his career, so perhaps it is simply a matter of institutional admiration, but I still find it intriguing that they would make this alignment so specific without driving home its significance.

I think a lot of Chicagoans might balk at the evident New Yorkishness of this. The east coast looms strangely for us. Some turn their backs entirely and focus on deliberately making Chicago work. Some, when working in Chicago, constantly have their eyes on New York as "making it." I think there are definitely things to be learned from theater in New York, and it is easy to forget how simple a claim that is in the complicated relationship we have with that city. Nevertheless, I can't help but view this institutional kinship (between ATC and the Public) skeptically if it goes unspecified. Does the Public know its name is being used for marketing? And is ATC striving for the success of the Public, its profile, or some tangible aspect of its aesthetic?


Monday, August 3, 2009

A Face For Internet...Radio

A new Talk Theatre podcast is up at Theatre In Chicago, this one hosted by yours truly. I'm talking to three actors currently in First Folio's Macbeth with me, but who also were in the Macbeth at Chicago Shakespeare last year. We talk about Macbeth, Acting, and what comes from repeating shows. Includes such earth-shattering journalism as, "Yeah...what about you?" But it's a fun conversation.