Essays, Practice, Opinions

Journalin-depth stories

  • A Relaunch for MinnesotaPlaylist Alan Berks
    In Minnesota, your bank teller, plumber, and doctor all have opinions about whether they like the Guthrie Theater’s season. All of them may have seen your last Fringe show or that other thing you did that you thought only fifty people saw. It’s no big deal; they’re not impressed by you; they just enjoy their cultural heritage; they appreciate that you do what you do and they will go see it, because this is what they do in their life, along with lots of gardening, voting at the highest rates in the country, and bemoaning the Vikings and Twins.
  • An Interview with 7 Fingers’ Gypsy Snider and Shana Carroll Polly Carl, Gypsy Snider, Shana Carroll
    When I was eighteen and deciding to do circus, I was involved in a form where you take a risk on a daily basis. I became a trapeze artist. I think that when you take a risk in one corner of your life, it transfers over and makes you more courageous in the rest of your life. … I think that as a spectator to be able to watch something that is choreographic and beautiful and to be transported to a place where you see someone risking their lives in order to do it, and the stakes are that high, it produces an emotional response you can’t achieve in other forms.
  • My Aristotle, My Las Vegas Brighde Mullins
    There were two modes of preparation for a soiled soul: one was to go to a sporting event and, by rooting for an athlete, profound and cleansing emotions would be activated. The other option was to go to the theater, and, in passionate sympathetic contemplation, witness a story, a tragic turn of events, to identify, to empathize and to walk away purified. To create both holy terror and whole receptivity, then, was at the root of the [theatrical] experience.
  • A Short Personal History of a Beautiful, Slippery Phrase Todd London
    Your experiment—these three-year residencies—is part of a fix—a fix made necessary by the unintended consequences of good intentions. Our young theaters, brave and optimistic, cultivated a playwriting profession of greater range, depth, diversity, and imagination than any to have existed previously in this country. Then unintentionally, unwittingly, the same theaters oversaw the near impoverishment and almost-total alienation of that same group of professional playwrights, alienation from the very theaters that had made them possible. In other words, we are here because the nonprofit theater boom—its new play energies and the attendant spread of professional training programs—made possible a glorious mess of playwrights with which it had no idea what to do.


NewCritcriticism & analysis

  • Boxing from the Inside: Brett Neveu and the Magnetic Presence of the Ring Martha Steketee
    He fought two guys; beat the crap out of them. And I looked around, and everybody had just stopped training.. And I thought: oh, my god, this is the show. There’s that magnetic presence of the ring.
  • When Avenue Q Goes Local: Racism and the Production of Plays that Joke about Race Stephen Quigley
    After the play, I raised this question to my theater companions, and all tried to explain to me the obvious humor behind the song. I nodded my head…yes…I get it. Of course I get it, but in certain contexts jokes lose their humor, and from my vantage point, I again had to ask myself what exactly was funny about that song being sung in historically racist Greenville, South Carolina?
  • Neighborhood Shakespeare in Chicago’s North Side Parks Dani Snyder-Young
    The expectations of audience behavior are different in park spaces than in formal theater spaces. Children can dip in and out of the performance, running off to play nearby while their parents watch... Because the physical space is informal and is not insulated from noise, some audience members may feel comfortable to verbally engage with the performance or to vocalize audible responses in a way they normally wouldn’t. These interjections are quite welcome by artists looking to do work that is legitimately for the people.
  • All the World on Stage In One Neighborhood? 2014 Theater: Village Festival Jonathan Mandell
    “I want to reinvigorate the idea of this neighborhood being a destination for theater,” David Van Asselt, artistic director of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, told me last year, explaining why he was launching the first annual Theater: Village Festival with three other Greenwich Village theaters—Axis, Cherry Lane, and New Ohio. To Van Asselt, “theater is the Village,” thus the colon in the festival’s title.


Blognews, trends, insights

  • Playing with Fire: A Conversation on the Art of Fire Performance Ember Flynne, Michael Mucciolo
    Circus artists Ember Flynne and Michael "Mooch" Mucciolo discuss their work as professional fire performers in Boston, and shed some light on what it takes to succeed in the business.
  • Artist Unions, Labor, and Family Traditions Diana Wyenn
    Truthfully, as a Los Angeles-based theater artist working almost entirely under the 99-seat agreement, at a certain point I just gave up on earning my Equity card, and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) wasn’t popping up on my radar. While I may not currently carry a union card in my wallet, I do take great pride in how I am following in my grandfather’s footsteps. We both pursued our passion to craft and share stories, and simultaneously held careers working in the arts to pay the bills.
  • Cafesito: Duking it out with a Southwest Troupe Elizabeth Dwyer Sandlin, Amelia Ampuero
    Albuquerque, New Mexico: We have a varied company, and we’re always looking to put on kick ass plays. It’s pretty cool that we have a company where any of our actresses could play Hamlet. And not like, “Female Hamlet”, but you know, Hamlet. Or where people of different races play siblings, without comment or explanation, and our audiences don’t bat an eye.