As you have probably noticed, lately I haven't been doing much writing here. Partly, that was due to the demands of teaching, but partly it was because of a desire not to repeat myself. Over the winter break, I had an opportunity to evaluate my reasons for blogging, and I reached a conclusion that I could do one of two things: 1) quit, 2) focus and expand. I chose the latter.
This blog, Theatre Ideas, will continue but with an even stronger focus on the 100K Project topics: the arts in non-metropolitan areas. This will not be a place where I will engage the latest controversies of the theatrosphere, but rather where I will gather and disseminate my own ideas and those of others concerning the decentralization of the arts. For a while now, I have wanted to broaden the subjects about which I write, but have struggled to do so. To help me, I have teamed up with Cal Pritner to create a brand new blog, called "Thank You! Next?" Cal and I have been friends since the late 1980s -- we collaborated on the book Introduction to Play Analysis. Cal's bio is available on Wikipedia, but suffice to say his is the founding chair of the Illinois State University Theatre Department, where he taught many of the founding members of Steppenwolf, including John Malkovich, Gary Cole, Terry Kinney, Rondi Reed, as well as Judith Ivey. He is also the founder of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and has co-authored a fantastic book entitled How to Speak Shakespeare which I recommend to anyone who wants to make verse understandable. He is also a Mark Twain afficioanado, and is the author of Mark Twain and Me: Unlearning Racism, which will be published in the coming year. Cal has also acted in film, television, and theatre, and has written and performed five one-person shows, including Mark Twain: Traveling and Mark Twain: Unlearning Racism.
Cal lives in NYC, where he sees a lot of theatre, film, and dance. He is someone who thinks a lot about just about everything, and over the years he and I have had a lot of really interesting conversations, both in person and via email. Over the holidays, we decided that we'd like to have these conversations more publicly, so that other people could deepen and enrich it. So we created "Thank You! Next?," which has the subtitle "Two guys, out in the house, with opinions..." as a place where we could discuss pretty much anything that occurs to us. While I suspect a lot of our posts will be about aspects of the arts, we're also interested in politics, teaching, psychology, sociology, sports, and just about everything. Cal's current post, entitled "Why Best?," takes a look at Stanley Fish's NY Times article in which he lists his top ten American films.
I hope that some of my readers will find the time to check out "Thank You! Next?"