Let’s see how well I did meeting last year’s theatrical resolutions:
1) See more new, original works.
I checked out many new companies in 2010 — companies that were new to Chicago (Mortar Theatre, Brikenbrak and Nothing Special Productions, to name a few) and companies that were new to me (including Signal Ensemble Theatre, Sideshow Theatre Company and La Costa Theatre), so I feel I’ve made progress. Grade: B+
2) Have greater confidence in my opinions.
This is a tricky one to self-assess as it’s less measurable. Overall, I feel I’ve worried less about what others think of my opinions and have attempted to call out crap more often when I see it. However, there have been times when I’ve wondered if I’m just not “getting it” — like the production of Cabaret at Hypocrites that I loathed, but everyone loved. Huh? Grade: B-
3) Take along more friends who typically don’t attend shows to help promote their interest in live theatre.
Gator, my partner, is very selective in the things he attends with me, which has given me the ability to offer my “plus one” to others. However, when I do extend these invites to my “non-theatre” friends, they always say they’re busy. So, I usually turn to my handful of theatre-savvy friends who I know will enjoy it, regardless of what the show is about — and, most importantly, will show up. However, lately I’ve just been going it alone, as it’s easier. Grade: D+
4) Be more present during a performance, spending less time thinking about work and my to-do list and focusing on the moment at hand.
I think this is a challenge for most of us. And out of all the resolutions this year, this has been the biggest focus of 2010 for me — not just in attending theatre, but in life. And it’s still a challenge. Being present for life events, performances and people is so critical. A recent family event also reminded me of the importance of this challenge. Life has an expiration date, so spend it wisely and intently. Grade: B-
5) Write shorter, more online-friendly reviews.
I’ve a short attention span for many things, especially when it comes to reading articles online. I’m assuming you do, too. (That is, if you’re still reading this rambling blog post …) Anyway, when looking at my writing in 2009 to what I wrote here in 2010, I think I’ve made progress. But clear, concise writing is always a challenge for any writer. Grade: B+
6) See the Patti LuPone/Mandy Patinkin show and not scratch my eyes out after watching two-plus hours of sycophantic, Juliard-trained emoting.
Done and done. And I still have both eyes. Grade: A+
7) See more shows at the Goodman, Lookingglass, Rivendell and Shakespeare theatres — among others.
Well, I’ve seen many more Goodman shows than last year, and a few at Lookingglass and Shakespeare, but I’ve yet to see a show at Rivendell (I know, I know …). Grade: C+
8) Do a better job promoting up-and-coming groups, such as The New Colony — who recently got awarded a huge check from Chase Bank!
I feel resolution #1 covered this one a bit. I’m always up to seeing a new group’s work and writing about it (that is, if they’re accessible by CTA and send me a review request a few weeks in advance, and not a few days before, as it seems the case has been quite frequently). Send me an email if you want me to see your show! Grade: B+
9) Interview a Chicago theatre diva, such as Hollis Resnik, E. Faye Butler, Barbara Robertson, Mary Ernster, Paula Scrofano, etc. We have some of the best stage actresses in the country — they are entitled to (gushing) recognition!
Didn’t happen this year. But I’d love for it to happen in 2011! However, I did some fun interviews with theatre folk such as Doug Peck, Emily Skinner, Carey Deadman, the ladies behind Two Birds Casting, and Miranda Sings (aka Colleen Ballinger) in 2010. So some progress in this area, if not in the intended locale. Grade: C+
10) Only give standing ovations to shows that really, REALLY deserve it.
I can only recall a few times where I fave the standing O to a show that didn’t warrant it — but that was only so I could see the curtain call. And maybe a bit of peer pressure, too. Grade: A-
Overall grade: a solid B -
I did ‘aight in 2010. Next year’s resolutions are in the works, to be shared soon. What are your theatrical resolutions? Comment away!