Alright, so I’ve seen a couple of shows in the past two weeks — “Cancer: the Musical,” at Washington Ensemble Theatre, which has been thoroughly and well-reviewed already so I don’t feel the need to add my bit to it, and also “Quickies, Vol. 11″ which is Live Girls! Theatre’s first itinerant show. I don’t have an in depth review for it, really — it was adorable and funny. There wasn’t a short in the lot that I didn’t enjoy, or that was predictable. They were all well-directed and both visually and intellectually interesting. I highly recommend going to see it.

Despite the fact that Seattle is suffering from “June-uary,” we’re entering Summer Shakespeare Season. There are companies like Greenstage and Work It that specialize in Summer Shakespeare, and there are companies like Balagan and Theater Schmeater that have normal seasons but also have outdoor shows (classical or not — this year, not). Outdoor activities are a tradition in the Northwest, especially starting around the solstice, and regardless of the weather. But, because of the summer Shakespeare, there’s not as much happening indoors. There will be shows scattered throughout July, but until mid-August, most theatres won’t have substantial shows lined up.

So I think this is a good time to review.

Official blog stats!
Started: October 2009
Number of shows I’ve seen since then: 19, not including shows I worked on myself
Average shows per month: 2-3
Number of shows I’ve blogged about: 18
Why I started the blog, per the first entry: “The purpose of this blog is to officially share my thoughts on theatre with the world. In order to keep my director’s brain running, it helps a lot to see and critique other theatre productions. This also gives me an opportunity to help spread the word of small theatre companies in the area, who, I have found, produce much better art than the larger houses, despite the distinct lack of funding.”

That’s been pretty true so far. I have gone off the beaten path, talking about science, marketing, and my big argument with Roger Ebert. As I continue to write, I find that I want to write about more subjects than just theatre, although for me most things tie back to art somehow.

This coming year is going to be interesting. While I have a couple of vague offers for directing shows, I don’t have any particular plans. This was scary for awhile, but I find it kind of freeing. I’m taking the movement class at Freehold starting next month, which will be a departure from what I’ve been doing theatre-wise the past couple of years: proposing shows, working out the rehearsal schedule, getting designers together, holding auditions, rehearsing the show, and getting it on its feet. I’ve been going to see a lot of shows, too, but otherwise that’s about it. I have dramaturged a couple of shows as well. But, I haven’t had a wide range of creativity, since I gave myself specific directorial and managerial jobs. I’m looking forward to more creativity and fun this next year.

In other news, Shakespeare on the Troll is off to a good start. I’m also writing short articles as a SocialWriter for Gather.com, which has been interesting. So basically, I hope to broaden my focus a little bit and write on a lot more topics, and develop some theatrical ideas of my own in the coming year. Also, hoping to visit Chicago. Been thinking about moving there. We’ll see.

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2 Responses to ““Quickies, Vol. 11″, Live Girls! Theatre, and a quick blog review”

  1. Sally says:

    Nicol, I always catch up with your blog in huge chunks, so I can never reply to any of your posts in a timely manner, but I love reading your thoughts!

    Re: The experience of art in different forms and how it affects the mind: You know I’m not at all a gamer. I really don’t enjoy playing most video games, but I did play narrative type computer games when I was younger, and the game that made by far the biggest impression on me was Myst. It was immersive and intuitive and the story line was fascinating, and I would bet that it had some effect on my ability to problem solve. I’d say, even moreso as an adult than as a teenager, sometimes I’ll feel like I did when I was playing Myst at 13 – the sense that if I just relax and experiment and pay attention, things will start to move. I probably won’t ever see the complete picture, but more things will connect to each other, and some things will make sense.

    The first couple seasons of Lost were also very reminiscent of Myst to me – but with an ensemble cast stumbling through puzzles (and a much more sprawling and idiosyncratic setting/plot) instead of a silent virtual self.

    A particular type of puzzle solving – small puzzles that are part of a much larger, coherent puzzle/narrative – appeal to me and seem more like a novel to me than purely puzzle-based or combat types of games. I’d bet that it activates much different parts of the brain than, say, minesweeper or mariokart or grand theft auto.

    Just some thoughts.

  2. Sally — video games are currently moving further away from the combat style. I personally hate first-person shooters, but there’s a few games I will make exceptions for in style, like Portal and Oblivion (Portal is much more a puzzle solving game, which I think you’d love, and Oblivion is fantasy-based so the weapons involve swords and bows more than guns). Online flash games particularly are becoming more puzzle based, turning into what a lot of developers are calling “sandbox games” — worlds where there’s sort of a point to being there, because there are puzzles to solve, but you don’t have to do them in any particular order, or the game is immersive and doesn’t offer any instructions, you just have to bump around and see what objects you can move. Of course, a lot of commercial video games, in order to justify the years that go into development, have a wide story arc that takes a long time to get through, and the graphics are becoming better and better to keep the player’s visual interest as well.

    But yeah, you should look up some smaller online sandbox games and see what you think. Myst was really, I think, responsible for how this trend is playing out.

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