Thursday, January 15, 2009

Five Years of Theatre

In January of 2004, I began a semester of study-abroad in England. One of the great things about it was that I had the chance to see a lot of West-End shows, and during that semester I decided to start keeping track of every piece of theater that I saw. In a lovely bit of unplanned symmetry, I saw the world premier of Inana at the DCPA this evening, exactly five years after I saw Les Mis during my first weekend trip to London.

Here is the complete list of all 86 shows (82 different productions if you subtract the 4 that I saw twice) that I've seen in the last five years (favorites in bold):

Les Miserables, January 16, 2004 (Palace Theatre, London)
Stones In His Pockets, January 17, 2004 (New Ambassadors Theatre, London)
The Cherry Orchard, February 13, 2004 (Abbey Theatre, Dublin)
Macbeth, March 6, 2004 (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Anything Goes, March 8, 2004 (Drury Lane Theatre Royal, London)
His Dark Materials I, March 11, 2004 (National Theatre Olivier Theatre, London)
Endgame, March 15, 2004 (Albery Theatre, London)
Jerry Springer- The Opera, March 19, 2004 (A Really Useful Theatre, London)
His Dark Materials I, March 20, 2004 (National Theatre Olivier Theatre, London)
His Dark Materials II, March 20, 2004 (National Theatre Olivier Theatre, London)
Le Papier Peint Jaune, March 27, 2004 (Théâtre du Grütli, Geneva)
Romeo and Juliet, March 31, 2004 (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Handler, September 30, 2004 (Shanklin Theatre, Evansville)
A Bright Room Called Day, October 21, 2004 (May Studio Theatre, Evansville)
Jane Eyre: The Musical, November 13, 2004 (Shanklin Theatre, Evansville)
Flyin' West, February 25, 2005 (Shanklin Theatre, Evansville)
Months on End, March 23, 2005 (May Studio Theatre, Evansville)
Our Town, April 15, 2005 (Shanklin Theatre, Evansville)
The Birthday Party, May 19, 2005 (The Duchess Theatre, London)
The Importance of Being Earnest, May 21, 2005 (Bristol Old Vic, Bristol)
The Tempest, May 22, 2005 (Shakespeare’s Globe, London)
Henry IV Part 2, May 24, 2005 (National Theatre Olivier Theatre, London)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, May 25, 2005 (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Solstice, May 26, 2005 (The Other Place, Stratford-Upon-Avon)
A New Way To Please You, May 27, 2005 (Swan Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Twelfth Night, May 28, 2005 (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon)
The Knot Garden (Opera), June 3, 2005 (Theatre Royal, Bath)
Henry IV Part 1, June 17, 2005 (Royal National Olivier Theatre, London)
The Barber of Seville (Opera), August 16, 2005 (Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe)
Anatomy of Gray, September 23, 2005 (Shanklin Theatre, Evansville)
Anatomy of Gray, September 30, 2005 (Shanklin Theatre, Evansville)
Landscape of the Body, October 14, 2005 (May Studio Theatre, Evansville)
A Little Night Music, November 11, 2005 (Shanklin Theatre, Evansville)
A Little Night Music, November 19, 2005 (Shanklin Theatre, Evansville)
Little Shop of Horrors, December 24, 2005 (Temple Buell Theatre, Denver)
Six Characters in Search of an Author, February 17, 2006 (Shanklin Theatre, Evansville)
Wonder of the World, March 24, 2006 (May Studio Theatre, Evansville)
Tartuffe (Opera), April 1, 2006 (Wheeler Concert Hall, Evansville)
The Taming of the Shrew, April 28, 2006 (Shanklin Theatre, Evansville)
One Last Hope for the Lonely, May 1, 2006 (May Studio Theatre, Evansville)
Hay Fever, May 26, 2006 (Theatre Royal Haymarket, London)
Titus Andronicus, May 27, 2006 (Shakespeare's Globe, London)
Julius Caesar, May 31, 2006 (Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Avenue Q, June 15, 2006 (Noël Coward Theatre, London)
Sunday In The Park With George, June 16, 2006 (Wyndham's Theatre, London)
Speed-The-Plow, June 17, 2006 (Library Theatre, Manchester)
As You Like It, October 7, 2006 (Eugenia Rawls Courtyard Theatre, Denver)
Amadeus, October 25, 2006 (The Stage Theatre, Denver)
The Magic Flute (Opera), November 19, 2006 (Ellie Caulkins Operahouse, Denver)
365 Plays/365 Days, November 26, 2006 (Cafe Europa, Denver)
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, January 18, 2007 (Town Hall Arts Center, Littleton)
King Lear, January 24, 2007 (The Stage Theatre, Denver)
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, January 28th, 2007 (Temple Buell Theatre, Denver)
Ragtime, March 8, 2007 (Boulder Dinner Theatre, Boulder)
The Sweetest Swing in Baseball, April 4, 2007 (The Ricketson Theatre, Denver)
Working- A Musical, April 11, 2007 (Tramway Theatre, Denver)
A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, May 16, 2007 (The Stage Theatre, Denver)
A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, May 22, 2007 (The Stage Theatre, Denver)
Wicked, June 1, 2007 (Temple Buell Theatre, Denver)
Urinetown, August 17, 2007 (The Space Theatre, Denver)
Third, September 13, 2007 (The Space Theatre, Denver)
You Can't Take it With You, September 20, 2007 (The Stage Theatre, Denver)
Monty Python's Spamalot, September 21, 2007 (Temple Buell Theatre, Denver)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, October 28, 2007 (Temple Buell Theatre, Denver)
La Traviata (Opera), November 11, 2007 (Ellie Caulkins Operahouse, Denver)
Pride and Prejudice, November 15, 2007 (The Stage Theatre, Denver)
Lydia, January 17, 2008 (The Ricketson Theatre, Denver)
Plainsong, January 24, 2008 (The Stage Theatre, Denver)
Spring Awakening, February 2, 2008 (Eugene O'Neill Theatre, New York City)
Rock 'N' Roll, February 2, 2008 (Jacobs Theatre, New York City)
Mad Forest: A Play from Romania, March 19, 2008 (Jones Theatre, Denver)
Merry Wives of Windsor, March 20, 2008 (The Stage Theatre, Denver)
My Fair Lady, March 28, 2008 (Temple Buell Theatre, Denver)
Gee's Bend, March 29, 2008 (The Space Theatre, Denver)
Harvey, April 17, 2008 (Tramway Theatre, Denver)
The Laramie Project, April 24, 2008 (Tramway Theatre, Denver)
A Writer's Diary (Adapted from Virginia Woolf's diaries), June 20, 2008 (Hamilton Recital Hall, Denver)
Sweeney Todd, June 29, 2008 (Temple Buell Theatre, Denver)
Henry the Eighth, July 20, 2008 (University Theatre, Boulder)
Love's Labour's Lost, July 25, 2008 (Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre, Boulder)
Avenue Q, September 20, 2008 (Ellie Caulkins Operahouse, Denver)
Noises Off, October 2, 2008 (The Stage Theatre, Denver)
Glengarry Glen Ross, October 9, 2008 (The Ricketson Theatre, Denver)
The Miracle Worker, November 13, 2008 (The Space Theatre, Denver)
Anywhere But Rome, December 18, 2008 (Buntport Theater, Denver)
Inana, January 15, 2009 (The Ricketson Theatre, Denver)

The RSC production of A Midsummer Night's Dream is not only my favorite show on the list, but it is absolutely the best piece of theatre that I've ever seen in my life. The list includes 15 out of 36 from the Shakespeare canon, and for my lifetime I've seen 16 total (the other was Othello my freshman year at Evansville). I will add one more later this month when I see the Richard III at the DCPA.

I'm off to attend the presidential inauguration in Washington DC, so I should have some interesting stuff to write about when I return next week.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Money Troubles in America: Is there anything left that we can claim to be good at?

The NYT has a fascinating and thoughtful Op-Ed piece about the financial crisis. The main thing I take away from it is that the cliche of thinking about the big picture has been absent from our financial system for so long that now we're in such a mess that the first steps toward a solution all fall into the category of "stop doing really stupid stuff."

Thus far I have not been directly effected by the financial crisis, and I actually spent several hundred dollars in the last week to build myself a new computer. For an impoverished grad student with no prospect of ever making a lot of money, my financial situation is actually fairly secure, but that doesn't mean that I'm not still frightened of what might happen if Obama is not able to fix what is clearly a deeply dysfunctional financial system.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Accomplishments and objectives

A year ago I posted a list of things I had done in 2007 and things I hoped to accomplish in 2008. There's not much point in recording such things if you don't go back and compare them to what did happen, so here's my review of 2008 and forecast for 2009. To start, this is the list from that entry a year ago, with successful accomplishments in green, failed accomplishments in red, and black being partial or incomplete:

Things I would like to accomplish in 2008:
  1. Break out of my patterns of procrastination.
  2. Be more proactive about dating.
  3. Make more of an effort to write new poems, without getting away from the good revision work that I've been doing.
  4. Find out why my brother gets under my skin and learn to be at peace with him.
  5. Commit the time to write an academic paper that represents my very best work.
  6. Make more connections among the department's faculty and graduate students.
  7. Restore the university's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta to viability with undergraduate leadership.
  8. Find ways to travel without screwing up my budget (my upcoming trip to NYC will be a good start).
  9. Learn more about teaching methods, effective classroom skills, and good pedagogy so that I'm more prepared to teach college-level courses.
  10. Embrace the fantastic path I'm on without closing myself off to unexpected opportunities.
I've also done a lot of cool things in the last year that weren't a part of that list.

Things I accomplished in 2008
  • Visited New York City for the first time, and I had an absolutely fantastic time.
  • Kept up my quasi-regular correspondence of hand-written letters with a dear friend.
  • Was an alternate delegate to the country convention for Barack Obama. I didn't get a chance to participate, but it was a great cherry on top of the very inspiring caucus process.
  • My awesome trip to Germany and the Czech Republic.
  • Developed a topic for my masters thesis that I'm genuinely excited about.
  • Applied to PhD programs.
  • Made significant quantities of fruits and veggies a regular part of my diet.
I feel pretty good about where I stand right now, so major, life-changing resolutions don't feel particularly neccessary. Of course, the next stage in my life will be shaped considerably by which PhD programs I get into, if any, but for now I just need to concentrate on reaching a positive finish to my masters program and writing a thesis I can be proud of.

Goals and Resolutions for 2009
  1. Write my thesis and defend it in time to participate in the June graduation ceremony.
  2. Build a new computer from scratch.
  3. Take another big trip. (California?)
  4. Buy a more adult set of clothing.
  5. Go on a date.
  6. Maintain my level of political awareness and engagement.
  7. Change my own oil.
  8. Write the play I've been thinking about.
  9. Keep in touch with people in Denver after I move away.
  10. Get better about procrastination.