Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back to Normalcy

It's like a joke on "back to normal," see? But 1) "normalcy" is an annoying word (that just means "normality") and 2) it's not quite back to normal here, anyhoo. I've been enormously busy (don't get me started on "enormity"), with the Mike Dobbins Memorial New Plays from the Heartland, at Heartland Theatre Company, for which I was dramaturg, and now I am in auditions for The Language Archive, by Julia Cho, which I'm directing in August for September performances. What wonderful, brave, generous, patient, lovely, talented actors turned up last night! I'm looking forward to tonight! But, whew, it's been a whirlwind of theatre, lately.

The three one-acts in the New Plays program, all on the theme of Escape, were so well done. Great audiences. Our guest playwright, Scott Klavan, a New York actor, director, and playwright--who does a lot of work with new-play development--gave an inspiring talk on Thursday night, a workshop to the 3 winning playwrights on Friday afternoon (he was the judge in the play competition), and attend the Friday and Saturday performances, talking with the playwrights, actors, and theatre staff. He's a great guy, very kind, very smart, and a fellow of high standards. As a theatre reviewer for Escape Into Life, he tells it like it is. Example: his review of Antony and Cleopatra at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. He saw a matinee while he was in town.

I was interested in his take on the contemporary "battle of the sexes" and other parallels in regard to how Antony and Cleopatra plays today:

The parallels to 2014 are startlingly apparent: the large number of modern men who feel emasculated by the growing power of women; the women who struggle to balance their love of achievement with their love of men; both sexes’ problematic decisions regarding the battle of family versus career; rising political reputations brought quickly, thunderously down by embarrassingly sloppy, explosive corruptions, mistakes, and lusts; the cowardly Little Men of Terrorism replacing the bold, undaunted past warriors of gigantic armies and causes.

And, to make it a perfect Random Coinciday in the blog, I saw these great new feminist posts in two of my favorite blogs, Bitter Gertrude and The Bloggess. The Bloggess explains a hullabaloo about feminism with her usual high hilarity, and Bitter Gertrude is also very funny in telling today's playwrights and screenplay writers which stereotyped characters to stop writing!

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