For almost three years, I’ve been writing theatre reviews for a media company. The work was compensated only in theatre tickets and the sense of satisfaction of seeing my words read by thousands of people. That has been more than enough for me.
News arrived at the very end of 2017 that my editor at the media company was being let go, and the media company downsizing. I’ve had to put off theatres who approached me about upcoming shows. The one show for which I had already lined up tickets was turned down without explanation by the replacement editor. Whether this all means the end of my work as a reviewer is still not clear, but chances are good that this is the end of the road for me at that media company.
Fortunately, I like change. I get bored *really* easily. It’s remarkable I’ve stayed married this long, but that is more of a reflection of how exciting life is with Tim. Typically, for non-work uses of my time, I prefer to try new things, go someplace I’ve never been before, learn something I never thought about.
Three years going to plays and writing reviews? Kinda shocking.
What I found out, though, is that I rather enjoy it. Getting to see all these stories told on big stages and small, with fancy sets or no sets at all, by professionals or volunteers or novices or–best of all–kids! Being a witness to those stories has been an overwhelming privilege. The vulnerability, the willingness to take risks, to stand up in front of people and say “Watch me! I’m doing something important and you should listen now!” catches my heart in my throat even now. What a remarkable thing to do, putting yourself on stage, sometimes in the shoes of another person, to tell a story that makes people think about the world and themselves in it. There’s magic in those moments, the suspension of life while we examine this one crucial thought.
But time and tide wait for no one. Change was inevitable. I’ve started a new freelance gig, and I’m down the path on a long-term educational goal, planning a return to post-graduate study in the next few years. The only constant in my life is writing; through all the jobs I’ve worked, the places I’ve lived, writing is my north star.
I got into this gig on a lark, from a referral from someone I worked with for a whopping two weeks in Chicago. That connection turned into a delightful friendship with a like-minded woman, a professional writer making tracks and kicking ass. And it gave me the chance to get involved in the culture in Portland in ways I never would have thought of. I’ve met people and seen shows that have enriched and stimulated my life and my work. Because of that one connection, my life changed for good, and for the good. It’s been a helluva fun time, and I can’t express how grateful I am for the chance to do this.
And for those theatre readers who found me here on my personal blog, thank you, too. For welcoming me into the theatre scene in Portland, and for letting me witness your creations and share them with the world, and for passing my work around, giving me an audience I didn’t know I craved.
For now, I will be going to “Astoria: Part Two”, thanks to the gracious publicity maven at Portland Center Stage. Plus, there’s no way I’m missing one of the biggest shows in Portland, no matter what the editor in a distant city says.
Here’s my review for the first one.
As for the second one … well, watch this space.