After a wonderful 12 months, I will no longer be covering theatre or writing criticism for The New Orleans Advocate.
A number of professional opportunities have presented themselves in the last few months, and I just didn’t think I would’ve been able to manage the time in a way that would have honored the treatment The Advocate and my editor Annette Sisco had extended me in my time there.
If there is an unsung hero for theatrical coverage in New Orleans, it is Annette.
So, consider my top ten list and the lovely spread in The Sunday edition as my official farewell.
Let me first begin by telling you what a pleasure it has been covering your work.
And I mean that. I know some of you think I can be a little hard in how I view your efforts, but let me just say that I hope a year’s worth of reviews has proven me what I actually am: an enthusiast.
I am intoxicated by live performance. I adore the sense of community it creates. I have been thrilled to watch your work develop and mature over the course of a number of years. And I am particularly jonesed when I see self-correction and rigorous self-examination present itself from one production to the next.
Despite some outliers, it is a good community, surprisingly supportive and magnanimous in its actions.
If you don’t think so, ask around how Chris Marroy ended up with the lead in One Man Two Guv’nors, or check out the cast lists for numerous shows and look at the crossover from company to company. I could give a dozen other examples you guys might not be privy to, but suffice it to say, there is a limited amount of backstabbing and resistance to the efforts of others. And those who do practice that sort of zero-sum-game have found themselves on the outside looking in on everyone else having a good time.
My biggest concern for the scene is the lack of space to play.
It has been quite an education observing different companies and organizations scramble, hustle and brainstorm to come up with solutions for the spatial problems that are the biggest threat to the art form we hold so dear. Watching both Southern Rep and The NOLA Project attempt to balance finding a theatrical venue that nonetheless fits the mandate of the chosen show has reminded me that simply having an open space is not enough if the space doesn’t match the mandate.
The fact that both organizations synched the material to location more often than not is no excuse for the mavens of art in this town not to work harder in providing permanent homes for those two theatrical cornerstones. In fact, those two companies’ efforts alone should prove, once and for all, that simply one or two theatrical spaces for local companies would ignite a renaissance of theatre activity that has been poised to happen for almost a decade now.
If you care deeply about live performance in this town and don’t want local performers to have to hold their hands out for crumbs from some of the new energies that now hold sway at available venues, you will get in the game, commit to local theatre, and help the search for space.
The window is closing. It is time to act.
As for me, I have tried to lend my voice towards improving the art all over town. I feel like I have done my bit. I am going to focus exclusively on my work in the coming year both in and out of town. I have a number of exciting projects that are dear to my heart, but I will let the producers of those works announce them when the time is right.
Once again, thank you. I am moved that you put up with my voice.