Sunday, September 26, 2010


You could also call this post "Ch-ch-ch-changes" if you were someone who liked that kind of thing. And if you are, kudos, it's an awesome damn song.

I've been rather neglectful of this blog recently. It's a damn shame, especially since I seem to have a decent number of readers who follow the site even when I don't write anything. Which is pretty cool. I appreciate it. But there have been some changes in my life, which will lead to some changes in this site, that I thought I should discuss with y'all.

The most important change is this: on September 1st, I left theatre criticism. It was a tough decision to make: I think I was pretty good at it, I enjoyed getting my take on things out there, and I loved the free tickets. It felt cool to be at opening nights, and it helped me to see a huge amount of theatre, which has introduced me to the awesome stuff being done in the city and helped me think and talk more intelligently about how theatre is made and how it affects the audience. I loved doing it, and I'd love to keep doing it.

However, criticism was never the only thing I did. I've been working steadily to get into dramaturgy and literary management, and recently restarted an acting career that I'd left behind. And in addition to my decent success in criticism, I've been fortunate to do well in these areas. My dramaturgy got me into the ensemble of Stage Left Theatre, which has been an incredible, sustaining artistic home for me over the past year and a half. I've worked with a number of other great groups, including Theatre Mir and Marriott Theatre, not to mention a hugely educational internship with the literary department at Northlight Theatre.

A few months ago, I stepped in to the position of Co-Literary Manager at Stage Left. It's an incredibly exciting job, but also a huge commitment. And the most crucial part of the job is building relationships with playwrights. Doing this while there's always the possibility I could turn around and criticize one of their shows in public would be a significant problem. This isn't to mention sheer time commitment issues, which are significant.

And just when I was getting used to my new work at Stage Left (not to mention the new apartment, which I discussed a few posts ago), I got let go from my temp job. I'd been working as a temp at one place for 11 months, and they'd kept put off hiring me due to budgetary constraints. Two weeks ago on Friday, I got a call from my agency, telling me that the company had decided to go another direction and I wasn't to return on Monday. I never heard any complaints about my performance on the job--and apparently that wasn't the issue. Someone who had previously worked the position contacted them with an interest in returning, and they took up that offer. (I'm guessing it was cheaper for them, though I don't know for sure.) Luckily I've gotten a decent amount of shorter-term temp work since (I worked two days last week and have four this coming week), and am slowly starting to look for full-time jobs (I wish I were more self-motivated.)

And I'm keeping myself busy with plenty of theatre work--I'm dramaturging Kingsville at Stage Left (which is completely bloody brilliant and I will keep promoting as the time comes closer), acting in Randall Colburn's new play Halfshut at the Right Brain Project (which is really exciting), and in process of finding scripts for next spring's LeapFest. If only some of it paid.

And what of this blog? I'm determined it will continue. There won't be any more straight-up criticism, but I'm going to continue discussing news, analysis, and commentary. I love writing, and have no plans to stop. So thanks to all of you for reading, and let me know if there's anything you want to see on the blog some time soon!


Monica Reida said...

Although it will indeed be a shame to lose your voice in Chicago theater blogger dramatic criticism since it brought professionalism and intelligence, I hope that the blog does continue since you do possess quite a bit of insight on theater.

I'm still sorry that you lost your job, but I am looking forward to Halfshut.

(And I would have written a post entitled "Ch-ch-ch-changes," but it's well documented that I tend to use the first title that enters my mind.)

DJ Chas said...

All the best, Zev. I must concur with Monica, it is a shame to lose your voice in Chicago theater criticism. I wish you continued success with Stage Left and all future endeavors. You're aces, pal.


Lidarose said...

I'm so glad you don't have plans to stop writing -- I love reading what you write, even if I don't often comment, and don't live in Chicago :-)

steve said...

Hi Zev

I just want to urge you to occasionally review shows. We need people who do both. We need artist critics. If there is a clear conflict, avoid it, but if you're worried about perceived conflict of interest, I wouldn't worry. People will perceive that anyway.

If you don't think it's moral, then by all means don't do it. I just think we need both.

I'm sorry to hear you got laid off. When things get stressful, please remember that these are the times. There's no shame in it, not anymore.



Bob said...

I've always admired your writing style, Zev, and your smart, insightful critiques.

I didn't know you were back at acting -- I'd love to catch you in Halfshut.

Much luck to you, Zev. I'm glad you've found what you like to do, and that you're doing it. That's a very rare thing these days. Embrace it!

AnaliaRose said...

Congrats on the hard decisions! I went through some similar things whn I decided to move last year and commit to a non-theater job. All that risk has paid off though and I'm sure it will for you as well. You are brilliant at all you do and knowing you, I"m sure you'll be able to keep us engaged with whatever you choose to write and do.

And yes, I have been shamed by my mom (Lidarose) who apparently remembers to read your blog way more than me. Now that I have a keyboard that my cat can't lie on, I"ll have to catch up more with all this crazy internet stuff the kids (and my mom) tell me about...