In order to review Back Back Back, a play about three baseball players who struggle with the decision to use steroids, we appropriately sent a baseball fan with some knowledge of the issues at hand. That baseball fan also happened to be Star theater critic, John Allis.
In an espoused effort to direct attention to the talents of playwrights, the nine ten-minute plays that comprise Balagan Theatre’s shorts festival, Death, Sex: Election Season, draw from one pool of eleven actors, each of whom portrays several roles in the evening. Similarly, in further textual emphasis, all shows are directed by either Shawn Belyea or Jake Groshong, reining the evening’s offerings into a shared sensibility.
The implication is that “vital superheroes” are the apex of comic book writing and that romance comics are beneath contempt for any artist of Jack Kirby’s stature. More accurately, though, a return to simple reality was in the air. Romance comics were the height of American realism in comics.
Even those who “support” the arts often treat the making of art like an optional activity in life, something to be reserved for the gifted. It isn’t. Art is not just about being crazy, weird, incoherent, and incomprehensible while expecting money for it. Being an artist requires massive amounts of self-imposed dirty work alternating with almost palpable tedium. This is for all those who do the dirty jobs.
Part of the exploration of the Seattle Chamber Players’ American Chamber Dance series aims to revive “rarely performed ballets conceived for chamber ensemble and dancers by maverick American composers.” Charles Tomlinson Griffes was certainly a maverick and his beautiful ballet is rarely performed–very rarely.