Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Time is Getting Closer ....

The middle of December is upon us which means 2010 is just outside the window, breathing on the pane, and then sticking its tongue to freeze upon it. 2010 is going to be a very important year for us and I'm quite nervous, truth be told, as to what lies in store for our little theatre company.

Nicolle Van Dyke, our new Managing Director, will be joining me in the New Year to lead the charge on all fronts and our company members will be doing anything and everything to support the theatre company. Nicolle will be introducing herself to you soon and I think, if you haven't met her already, you'll be smitten with her. I know our female management team is going to "get 'er dun" with great aplomb and then some ... all while wearing fabulous pairs of high heel boots.

2010 is going to be all about preparing and fundraising for Storming Heaven. We're, primarily, going to be looking for direct financial support from our audience and fans. We're also going to be applying for a few grants, which will be a first for us, but we may or may not get them, so ... we're going to be appealing to you. We have an amazing season getting planned for 2011 and will be working throughout 2010 to create Storming Heaven, our four part theatrical miniseries. Even if you think that you don't have tons of money to give to our nonprofit theatre company, please know that as little as $5.00 goes a long way in GreyZelda's book. We know the value of a dollar and can stretch it like nobody's business. We're shooting to try to raise $5,000.00 per show and we will need you to help us reach that goal.

There are a variety of ways online that you can donate to GreyZelda.

One is through paypal. You can click on the WhatGives widget to the right and donate directly to us.

You can also go through IGive and GreyZelda will receive a donation everytime you search or shop online. It's super cool. We receive a penny each time you search for something and, if you purchase an item, we'll receive a percentage.

You can also visit Guidestar and donate as well.

We want to continue making our brand of theatre and sharing the stories that we think are important but we need your generosity to continue. Please consider donating to GreyZelda this year and be a part of the next creation.

Thank you so much.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Clara's Spitting Mad but a Quick Update


We're going to get a new look for our website. We're not going to go crazy and reinvent the wheel, but we're getting a face lift. Sarah Stec will be getting some designs to me within the next couple of weeks and we'll see what's what.

We had an adapter meeting for Storming Heaven which went really well. Bilal Dardai, Bob Fisher, David Alan Moore and GZ's own Chris Riter will be picking what section of the book they want to work on by Halloween and then will start working on their scripts. My hope is to get first draft copies of the sections to Denise Giardina by the end of January/ beginning of February 2010 to get her final approval.

Betsy Morgan gave a board presentation at our last company meeting and rocked and rolled with her information. We have a long way to go before we get the perfect board assembled but we now know the steps we need to take in forming a better one. Can I just say how I'm so happy Betsy is joining us to do shtuff? She's super cool.

We're also getting in gear for our fundraising campaign. I'll talk more about our ideas in another post. We'll be filling most of 2010 with our efforts along those fronts and I'm hoping that they're both fun and successful. If you'd like to volunteer in anyway, please let us know.

Clara isn't a happy camper at the moment so I need to bid you an adieu but I just wanted to get these few things down for y'all to see. I hope you're doing well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ze Code ... Ze Code, Boss

As I stated in the last post ... the code of ethics for Chicago Storefront Theatre was thrown out into the brainstorming session at the recent Summit meeting and needs a lot more development and thought from the group of experts and participants who were at the meeting and those who are looking to get involved.

First off, I run a nonprofit business. I create art but I run a business. That's just that. There's no running away from it. If you accept donations that are tax deductible, if you have registered with the state, if you are on the radar, you should have standards and you should have ethics. Bottom line. I hate the term "bottom line", but, hell, I'm talking in business speak. Why? I founded a business. Our audiences are our consumers and those who want to work with us are our employees. A Code of Ethics is a way of gaining trust from our workers and our audience. I'm sure you all run a trustworthy business, but what's the harm in having a list of words to agree to confirming and holding us to that fact?

I agree that having the code won't stop people from doing whatever the hell they want to do and it might be "lip service", but, again ... what's the harm? If we break off into committees and one of those committees is in charge of coming up with an initial draft ... what's the harm? Seriously ... I'd like to know. If you don't want to sign it or get behind it, that's your right. But, if a group of theatres do, that's their right, too. Again, most businesses follow one and let their people know about it.

So ... we can create one. Or not. I, honestly, am fine if the Summit group wants to move forward with other ideas. But, if people are interested in developing one, I'll be on board with it and will help to spread the word about it. I would, however, like to know ... if you're cringing about the idea, what are you really, deep down, cringing about? If we break off into committees and one of the committees works on this and another works on resource sharing and another works on real estate, etc, what's the harm? We can't all be stirring the same pot or else we won't accomplish anything.

Here's some Reading Material I found on the nets that I found both informative and entertaining:

How to Write a Code of Ethics for your business or group

Why have a Code of Ethics?

A Person Who Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth

U/RTA's Code of Ethics (Example of a group of universities and regional theatre's putting a standard list together that all participating members can agree to abide by.)

And, for fun ...

A Blogger's Code of Ethics

Good day to you all.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Before the Frenzy

I've been meaning to write an update for eons now and have finally found a few minutes while Clara sleeps, Chris does his workout, the sun is shining and insects are calling.

We've been loyal to our GreyZelda monthly meetings and have started to get projected goals accomplished. For example, at our July company meeting (the first company meeting in well over a year), we discussed the type of personality and image GreyZelda should try to project to Chicago and its visitors. We wanted to make sure we were committing ourselves to that image in the shows we choose in the future, fundraisers, general look/aesthetic, etc. It all came down to the idea of American Gothic and all that term encompasses. We've been doing that brand of theatre for years, but never put a definite description to it, so decided it should be done. Long ago and far away, I twittered something about wanting to be a theatre company that was the love child of Tom Waits and 16 Horsepower and I'm positive that we can accomplish that.

So ... after much discussion at that first meeting, I threw out that I was currently reading a book that I've always wanted to adapt and the folks at the meeting picked up copies of said book, read it, fell in love with it. We're going to move forward with this book and will put it in production at the BoHo Theatre space beginning January 2011. I'm not quite ready to announce all the details just yet because the adaptation hasn't even started but once we start moving on it with all the pieces (aka adapters) in place, I'll be giving you more of the nitty gritty.

2011 seems far away, but, in the meantime, we'll be adapting, fund-raising, getting the new look/mission together, creating a new website, starting rehearsals, etc. 2010 is going to be a busy year for all involved ... and, speaking of, if you'd like to be involved with GreyZelda in big ways, tiny ways, etc, we'd love your help and are always looking to work with inspired, energetic, positive, collaborative folks. Let me know by emailing me and we'll see what's what.

At the end of our August meeting, I wanted to follow Adam Thurman's advice and ask people why they wanted to work and continue to be involved with The GreyZelda Theatre Group. Here are a few of our folks' motivations for working with GZ:

We create a safe environment and safe haven for creativity.

We just don't say, we do.
"If the story's good, the acting's good and the directing's good, you should be able to do a show anywhere."

We're hitting our stride and have a set identity.

We offer refreshing, clear ideas.

We want to work with you.

We're kind.

We're literate.

We have a diverse play selection.

We give people a shot and take chances on new people.

We're exploratory.

We get down to business.

We like looking for the skeleton of things.

We create a healthy, drama-free environment and leave the crappy stuff behind in our wake.

We do work that our members believe in and we believe in our members.

As A. Thurman mentioned, it's good to "take the time to make sure everyone has the same goals." While we're not in the "frenzy" of rehearsals and production, it was really great to have this discussion with everyone and I highly recommend you doing so with your own companies. It was a very honest talk and I plan on referring back to that list from time to time if I ever need reminding of why we're doing what we're doing.

I hope everyone's September is going marvelously. I hope to write more soon with more announcements and updates.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Change Your Head Picture

i remember that on the set of “sing” i was so fucking WORRIED about everything that my neck went out, untouched. it just went into extreme spasm. if you look at the shots in the sing video
where brian and i are playing in the theater, you will notice that i look sort of odd. that is because i couldn’t move my head. i didn’t want to be that person anymore. and in fact, i am not.

i’d also learned something about simply letting go and letting the videos be what they wanted to be instead of trying to make them look the way they were in my head.
if you are ever making a video, or a film for that matter, but especially a low-budget video, i warn you against falling prey to the “but it’s not like i imagined it” syndrome.

this actually applies to any and all art. it will be one way in your head. then it will look different on the canvas. you deal, you adjust, you change your head-picture, you adjust.
the ability to deal is the talent, not the perfection in your head. nobody will ever see the perfection in your head. sorry.

this is why some artists kill themselves.

So says Amanda Palmer on her blog talking about the release of the Who Killed Amanda Palmer DVD. Check out the whole thing HERE and DO NOT buy the DVD off of Amazon or anyplace that Amanda Palmer hasn't mentioned because she won't see any of the money if you do end up just buying it willy nilly.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let's Go to Work

I've been reading about and looking forward to the upcoming Summit meeting proposed by Andrew Hobgood of The New Colony and a few thoughts have been whirling around in me ol' noggin as I've been checking out the various blogs starting to crop up. I, too, have concerns and it's more about how the *tone* (gasp!) of the first meeting is going to be and how I fear that if it turns into a bunch of people railing about how it didn't work before, then we're never going to get the horse out of the gate, yet again, because it will squeeze hope, energy and good cheer right out of the room. I'm sure those three words make those looking to fuck shit up cringe against the wall as a vampire gasps when facing garlic and a cross, but, seriously, you can't get anything going without a little inspired spark and good faith. How did you start your respective theatre companies? Or your blogs, for that matter?

I don't know why Andrew has to earn the trust of the Calloused. I don't know the guy yet. I haven't heard all that he has to say. I don't even know what the chap look like. I'm not going to cast my judgments until the meeting is over. I'm going to try to not cast judgment at all, if I can help it. I'm looking to make good on what is proposed, talked about, and acted upon. You realize that you, too, have to earn his trust. None of us really know how we work, how we handle projects, how we handle tasks, how we handle working together as a group. Unless you've worked together. And, even then ... think about it. I don't know how everyone works, because I've never worked, personally, as an artistic director with anyone planning on attending this meeting. Why should I trust anyone? Why should I trust you? Why should you trust those you've known for years? How do you know they're not undermining you at every turn? To be quite honest, I give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they fuck me or mine over and then, bam, that trust is gone. It might be earned back, but ... it definitely takes time. And, I probably won't work professionally with those people ever again. So, right now, I trust Hobgood. Until he shows me otherwise or proves that trust wrong. I'm going to hope for the best and take that little leap of faith I mentioned earlier.

Truth be told, I'm excited to hear about Alternatives. Alternatives to the League. Alternatives to the Jeffs. Alternatives to why this deal will work when the others haven't gotten off the ground. I like that this might be a Summit for just the Storefront scene. I want to collaborate with my Storefront brethren. We've got major collaborations in the works for 2011, in fact, so I'm interested in seeing what we might put on the table together.

I like a lot of the ideas already proposed online. Danielle's Physical Resource Sharing. Scott Barsotti's Critical Recordings and Volunteer Co-op. Tony's Rental Sharing and Theatre Crawl. All of those ideas were found in the comments here. I love how Nick Keenan and Dan Granata are slowly but surely taking action to share online resources and buoy the general spirit of our Chicago theatre practitioners.

As far as my attendance at the meeting goes, I plan on being present in every way possible, listening and going with whatever is proposed if it works for my sensibilities and the good of my theatre company. If the ideas don't have the potential to hold water or, to be honest, I don't want to work with the people attending the summit because they're showing that they don't want to work with anybody but their own kind or I and others can't get a word in edgewise because you're blowing your hot steam, loudly, in all directions, I don't plan on making a stink about it. I'm just going to accept that it ain't my scene. I'm going to keep on doing what we've been doing all along. No harm. No foul. I'll wish everyone luck in their enterprises and hope that the Summit will accomplish something. Anything.

I just want to see what happens. I'm hoping for the best. I don't want to have a meeting that reminds me of Reservoir Dogs where everyone's blazing their guns and their ideals and looking sexy lying in their own pool of blood at the end of the day, sweaty hair plastered to their foreheads. If that happens, however, I'd like to go on the record and say that I'm a Mr. Pink kind of girl. He's the only guy who got out of the place alive with his professionalism in tact and he's the guy I'd get behind in the end. Even if he doesn't tip. Mr. Blonde might bite instead of bark but he's a crazy motherfucker. Mr. White's too goddamn loyal and trustworthy for his own good. And, of course, we know about Mr. Orange. Even if he is awfully cute when he's fuckin' dying, Larry...

So, I propose, before the meeting has a date, that we all get our grievances out on the blog table, so we can join the Summit with all that crap left at the door. I want to move forward. I want to accomplish ... something. Again ... I know it can happen.

I'll see you at the Summit.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I've Things to Say ...

... but I can't find the time to write them at the moment. I'll have some free time to myself on Saturday evening, so I plan on writing my thoughts in regards to the upcoming Summit meeting that's being planned by The New Colony's Andrew Hobgood. Ah, motherhood and entertaining a house guest. They don't allow for a lot of blog writing time.

So ... stay tuned. I'm also going to talk a little bit about where GZ is these days. She's in a good place, I think.

Super cool.

R to the Z

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret

For the record, I received an invitation from Point of Contention to write something about their show and was comped and given a press packet. It was fun coming to the show from the "other side" if you will. I'm not the biggest advocate of the "public peer review" but thought I would post a little sumthin' to get the word out there about the show.

Susanna Centlivre wrote The Wonder and it's a classical, light hearted piece with occasional sword play, lecherous servants and a few weddings to tie it all up at the end. Very happy. Very trite. It all works out in the end and, lo and behold, a woman kept a secret. Margo Gray directed.

Whenever I see acting of the classical variety, I always like to hone in on the one or two people in the cast that really seem to have it down pat. Megan Faye Schutt (Violante) and Sean Patrick Ward (Colonel Britton) were really comfortable with the language, took their time, were clear as a bell with their enunciation, married their speech with their bodies, created the language's images without indication, etc. Megan reminded me of Ms. Melissa (Kuhlmann) Gordon, actually and I was plotting about casting them as sisters someday in my mind whenever she came on stage. She was strong, interesting to watch and held my attention from the get go. Sean Patrick Ward was elegantly charming with his appropriate shark teeth grins and arching eyebrows. I enjoyed both of their performances very much.

Morgan Manasa and Hayley Rice played the requisite saucy servant girls and were both solid. Morgan also played a few more characters with varying facial accoutrements and pulled out some of her sword play now and again. She's a sword savvy type of gal and I found myself wanting to see her enter as a new character with each scene because she really committed herself to the physical changes required and cracked me up consistently when she would make an entrance.

I'm not the biggest fan of seeing classical work done by my storefront brethren unless the cast is totally on the same talent level with their understanding of the language and its requirements. You often get a few shrill, indicative and predictable performances with the actors delivering their lines too quickly to overcompensate for the fact that they're not completely comfortable with what they're saying. I also couldn't get behind some of the miming and silent scenes that they were directed to do occasionally. Actors exited and entered without a lot of motivation and some of the busy work just seemed like filler.

I also wasn't the biggest fan of the costumes. I didn't have as much of a problem with the ladies garb. The men's clothes were a bit distracting, however. Some of the guys were wearing their modern day job uniform of long sleeved shirt, trousers and shiny work shoes accented with a vest or medallion or sword. Not 19th century enough for me. Sean Patrick Ward looked the most appropriate but it didn't seem like a lot of thought went into the guys' getups. Again, the ladies looked fine and the costumer (Carrie Hardin) did a nice job with layering and stitching up the skirts with the occasional bow accent.

The actors and director had to work on the set for Boho's The Tempest which worked fine for a mad-cap farce with doors being opened and closed nonstop.

The show definitely got stronger as the night went on. It's 2 1/2 hours. If you're looking for something lighthearted along the classical bent to do after work, then you should go check this out.

The show is being performed Mondays-Wednesdays at 8pm through August 28th in the BoHo Theatre at the Heartland Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Viewpoints Workshop with GreyZelda

Please join GreyZelda for a three-session Viewpoints workshop taking place Saturdays on July 25, August 1 and August 8 from 11am to 2pm at the Dance Chicago Center. Any person with any level of experience, from beginner to advanced, is encouraged to attend! The first session will be an Introduction/Review of the Viewpoints including games and open viewpoints. The second session will focus on open viewpoints and some composition work. During the third session, we will use the work of Tom Waits to dig in and really see what we can create! Our goal is to both create performance pieces and play.

The cost is $20.00 for all three sessions. If you’re not able to make all the sessions, that’s fine as long as you’re able to attend the first session on July 25th.

Participants need to come dressed to move, preferably in flexible, close fitting clothing so the teacher can see the participant’s form when creating.

Participants need to have a memorized two to three sentence piece of text to work on for the first session. The text may be a section of monologue, song lyrics, self-penned, etc.

The workshop will take place at:

Dance Chicago Center
Alphonsus Academy & Center for the Arts, 3rd Floor
1439 West Wellington
Chicago, IL 60657
Directions: One block west of Southport, between Wellington and Oakdale
Public transit: Accessible by El train: take the Brown line to the Southport stop and walk south to school's entrance at Oakdale.

We have room for 20 participants. Please contact Rebecca Zellar to enroll at or 773-610-9249.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Human Nature

A Must Read for Reviewers Everywhere from Parabasis: Click Here.

And, in other news ... I'm feeling very melancholy after watching Michael's Memorial Service. I'm sure I'm projecting the losses we've had this year onto this, but ... I do feel verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves while watching this:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

GreyZelda Meeting - July 12, 2009

We're going to be having a GreyZelda meeting on July 12th at 7pm. Our pad. Email me for address details. We'll be touching base with people after taking quite a hiatus (it's been over a year since we've talked about anything GreyZelda related) after the birth of Ms. Clara. She'll be a year old in August and I think it's high time to start collaborating again and seeing what's next.

GreyZelda 2.0.

I'd like to talk about a new website, a new mission, a wish list for the company, a five year plan, new brand initiative, fund-raising, building committees, membership, etc. Basically, the works.

You're welcome to join us, if you'd like to get more involved with the company or just to see what we're all about.

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to getting everybody (old and new) together to talk about my favorite theatre company.

Rock and roll.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Online Book Club

I'm thinking of creating an online book club so that I could have discussions about great literature with friends near and far. I'm taking a look at some different online forums but if you, dear readers, have suggestions as to a good place to start, I'd love to hear it. Should we do the standard message board thing? Create a blog with a few different team members and we could have discussions in the comment section? Should we create a yahoo groups?

Let me know if you'd be interested and your preferred way of talking about something literary.

I think this will be fun. Slightly geeky, but, hell, I ain't ashamed of being a geek.

*Update: I formed a book club through google. Come join us!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Answers to the Questions DV Poses

The Devilvet asks some intriguing questions about collaboration on this day. Here are my answers:

In what ways do you express your enthusiasm for the process while in its midst?

Most of my enthusiasm goes to the collaborators involved with the show. I want to create a positive, fun, giving and receiving environment for our actors, designers, etc. If I can spread my enthusiasm for the project to those directly involved, it's my hope that they will let everyone and their mother know about the project because they'll be proud enough of the show to help get people in the seats.

Specifically? I am very vocal when I love something that's happening in the rehearsal or a design being presented. I physically show my enthusiasm and loudly proclaim how awesome it is. And I will repeat myself as many times as necessary so people know that I'm serious about it. I'm not always enthusiastic so when something truly gets me going, you know it. Positivity combined with clear, specific feedback does wonders for an acting environment.

Do you take it for granted that everyone is enjoying your contributions?

I don't. I'm paranoid enough to think that people might not be enjoying my contributions and might very well think I'm being a psycho hose beast. I try to check in with everyone as much as possible to make sure everyone is enjoying the process and, if they're not or there's disconnect somewhere, I do my best to communicate with everyone about whatever problem we're having ... especially if I'm the cause of it. I have, in the past, become quite indignant that people weren't having as good of a time as I would have liked them to have. We can't pay our collaborators much so if people think they're having a terrible experience, it really bothers me and I personally think I've failed the ensemble and the project.

Do you send out emails when interesting ideas and directions occur to you?

No, not really. If we're in the process, I'd rather just talk to them before or after rehearsal. Or, if need be, call them on the phone between times. I have communicated via email with actors early on in the process to talk about their characters, but I'd really rather save that talk for rehearsal. It can be helpful, but I'd rather see the ideas set in motion as soon as possible to see if they're a go or not. I once worked with a director who would send emails a couple of hours after rehearsal with acting notes and blocking ideas. I thought it was a passive aggressive move. I didn't understand why we couldn't have the conversation in person.

If we're between shows or on hiatus, as it were, I sometimes will email people about things GreyZelda might do in the future to see what people think about it. Most of the time, I just brainstorm with Chris whenever he's feeling like talking about the theatre company.

Do you sit on them for a while and only present them when face to face?

I can't say I sit on things for a while. In fact, I'm too impulsive for my own good and will often feel that whatever idea has popped into my head needs to be acted on immediately or else it'll drive me crazy. These impulses have gotten me in trouble on occasion, especially if they've been driven by anger. If anger is the ignition, I've learned to sit on those ideas for a bit.

Do you pull folks aside and whisper in their ear?

If we're in the middle of the scene and I'd like the actor to play around with different motivations, I'll pull them aside and give them a direction so their scene partner can't hear and will be surprised when the actor returns to the scene. I like the secrecy of the game.

Do you insist on voicing concerns immediately?

Yes. Unless fueled by anger as stated earlier. It's best to try to be as zen-like as possible when dealing with people and collaborators.

If you concede, when do you?

I rarely argue with an actor unless the actor is telling me how to do my job. But, in the end, I'll concede to an actor. If a lot of collateral damage is being done because I won't concede and it's hurting the ensemble as well as the company, I'll concede.

If you don't, how do you manage it?

By being an indignant, stubborn bastard who should know better. Really, in the end, it's better to concede. Unless, it makes you physically ill to concede. Then, don't. Embrace the all powerful motto of "Fuck it." Or the even more aggressive "Fuck them and the donkeys they rode in on." Whatever works for you. But, really, it is best to concede. There are many things I haven't conceded on and don't see myself doing so in the near future, but ... when it comes to your collaborators, you really should. Unless they need to be booted because they're not doing anything positive for the company. In that case, tell them to get the fuck out.

Are you the kind of person who thinks that once the metaphor of conflict arises the game is lost?

I really like to have everyone get along and if someone really crosses the line, I feel very sad about it because I know we can't go back from it unless one of us gives up a little something of ourselves. I do feel a sense of loss when this happens. I think that things can be fixed with a lot of communication, empathy and understanding, but, in my experience, it takes a certain kind of person to accomplish that and move forward without remembering the conflict that once was. I do try to move forward, if possible, but I do, truly, hate the conflict and rarely work with those who consistently brought the conflict into the process again. And, the feeling is probably mutual from those who thought I brought the conflict.

Do you secretly enjoy/need opposition in order to establish your own position?

Oh no. I hate it in an artistic process. I prefer everyone maintaining their professionalism and not behaving like assholes. If we can all avoid being assholes ourselves, the whole thing will be so lovely to work on and we'll all walk away from it feeling good about the months we spent working on something.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Love is in the Air

Updates on GZ peeps in regards to la-la-la-la-love.

Ms. Melissa Kuhlmann and Mr. Tom Gordon are now Mr. and Mrs. Tom and Melissa Gordon as of May 23rd of this fine year. They were married in Oxford, OH on the Kuhlmann farm and Chris, Gene, Clara and yours truly were there to witness their nuptials. Welcome to the Married Life, dear friends!

And, speaking of dear friends getting hitched ... Ms. Lisa Wilson and Mr. Dave McCaul are now engaged to be married as of yesterday. Lisa just gave me a call to tell me and I am extremely happy and excited for them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I know you probably already know this y'know, but I just wanted to let you know that RZ posts about life outside of the theatah over at Terroristic Optimism.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life Stepping Forward

Thank you to everyone who called, texted, sent cards, emails, flowers, plants, etc. We arrived in Chicago at 8am yesterday morning after an 18 hour car ride back from Texas and are going about figuring out how to deal with the rest of our lives without Chris's mom being a part of the picture. Though she will be a part of the picture because we'll remember her and talk about her and, if need be, talk to her and we'll tell Clara all about her and how her grandmother loved her with all her heart and still does.


I just spilled coffee over the desk. I am a chronic spiller of things.


I wanted to share Neil Gaiman's recent blog post with you because he talks about creativity and how the urge strikes and how it doesn't in response to a fan's question about their sense of entitlement when they're not getting their next book fast enough. Here's a bit of it that I really loved:

You don't choose what will work. You simply do the best you can each time. And you try to do what you can to increase the likelihood that good art will be created.

And sometimes, and it's as true of authors as it is of readers, you have a life. People in your world get sick or die. You fall in love, or out of love. You move house. Your aunt comes to stay. You agreed to give a talk half-way around the world five years ago, and suddenly you realise that that talk is due now. Your last book comes out and the critics vociferously hated it and now you simply don't feel like writing another. Your cat learns to levitate and the matter must be properly documented and investigated. There are deer in the apple orchard. A thunderstorm fries your hard disk and fries the backup drive as well...

And life is a good thing for a writer. It's where we get our raw material, for a start. We quite like to stop and watch it.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


I just wanted to you know that Chris's mom passed away early this morning. We're going to be driving down to Texas later today. I won't be online much, if at all, so if anyone needs to reach us, we'll have our cell phones on us.

Take care and give your families lots of love.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Hearty BB Congratulations!!!!

Ms. Brenda Barrie, one of the most lovely, emotionally raw actresses we've had the pleasure to work with, was nominated by the Jeff Committee for Best Actress in a Principal Role for her title role in Lifeline's Mariette in Ecstasy (which we didn't get a chance to see ... with this little one in the house, we don't get out much. We heard nothing but wonderful things about her work in it.) Congratulations to BB. She helped originate the role of Fanny Hooe in our play, The Thimbleberry Gallows which was produced back in 2005 at Stage Left. She is a gal who is beautiful inside and out, and this nomination has been a long time coming because I've thought she's one of the best actresses in Chicago for quite some time now.

That's Brenda as Fanny and my dearest husband as Henry.

A hearty congratulations to Nick Keenan of New Leaf for his Best Sound Design nod as well. I haven't met Nick in person yet, but I appreciate his work and words. He seems like a very swell guy and we're happy for him.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Where Have All the Ladies Gone?

I read through a gamut of blogs on a daily basis. Blogs about theatre, blogs about my friends' lives wherever they may be, blogs about celebrity gossip. It fills the hours and distracts the mind for a few brief minutes.

A lot of times I'll run into an entry that strikes the nerves of the readers and a huge comment battle ensues. I've noticed, as of late, that it seems like only men get into the exchanges on a lot of the theatre discussions, particularly. Why is that? Why are we women backing off lately?

I can only speak for myself but I've definitely backed off from getting into philosophical discussions with the guys online. I realized it was making me emotionally weary and, at the same time, bored and irritated after a huge exchange happened last year during the run of The Skriker. So, I really forced myself away from engaging on a daily basis. I was still reading the theatre blogs, but I didn't want to join in the discussions anymore. I was also pregnant and realized that I needed to focus my attentions on becoming Clara's mom and needed to provide a calm internal environment for her to take root and grow in. To not only grow, but to thrive. By constantly bristling and getting my moods in ever present craws, I imagined that I was creating a craggly nest for my sweet girl to float in.

Once I backed off and became used to that, I realized that my comments didn't seem to aid the discussion. The talks appeared to retread the same issues and, to be quite honest, started to reek of a lot of hot air and wind. Like the air on a plane, always recycling and starting to stink a little.

I wanted to focus on my family and my life. That hasn't changed 8 months after Clara's birth. I feel that if I engage and share my energy in the sniping, in the verbal castigation and masturbation, in the pettiness of the individual's GREAT IDEA, which negates everyone else's GREAT IDEAS, then I would be doing a disservice to the loveliness of my day to day life and the wonder that greets each morning with a brand new person taking in everything for the first time.

I gotta say though, boys. I'm tired of seeing the same names and hearing the same voices day after day. I scrolled through Scott Walter's big 75 comments blog the other day and only saw one lady saying something and that was at the beginning of the comment run. Where have all the lady bloggers and commenters gone? I know they're out there reading but they're staying mum and I'm not sure why. Any ideas?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Houston on the Flip Side

GreyZelda recently took the Flip Video people up on their non-profit deal, scoring two Flip Video Cameras for theatre, artistic and what-have-you use. Chris took his along to Dave Lykin's concert on April 9th at Sylvie's and recorded a few songs from Dave and The Crimebusters during their debut performance as a band.

Some of you may recall seeing Dave's countenance over the action during A View from the Bridge. He played the lawyer and voice of reason, Alfieri. He's a mighty talent and an even mightier friend and soul. Make sure you catch him next time he's playing solo or with the boys. He's an awesome person to know.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Brain Snapshot

What's on Rebecca's GreyZelda's clipboard:

1. Plan a company meeting, where we will talk about the following:

2. Fundraising. We need to hold a fundraiser or two before we put money down for a space and commit to a season. We could make a season of fundraising, in fact, because fundraising can be fun as well as draising.

3. Define draising, as GreyZelda sees it.

4. Add company members and redefine the job duties and company's mission. Willing to completely rework the company's goals. I know who I would like to invite, that's fo' sho'.

5. Redesign website and update GreyZelda's look and feel. Talk to Gene and Sarah about both.

6. Meet with Jessica Hutchinson again to discuss her ideas for directing a show for our future season.

7. Put the idea out there that we'd like to share a rehearsal space with another theatre company or group of artists. Check this one off the list because I just put it out there.

8. Come up with a web series using our new Flip Cameras. Interviews with company members, community collaborators, etc.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Let's Definitely Say

"- And speaking of reality...let's say theatre is not dying...not even really ailing. Let's say that theatre will go on and on and on for all of human history on this planet. And let's say that it will look like this forever: there will be big fancy theatres that do shows and plays and whatnot and appeal to the widest audience with the bluntest objects they can find and there will be mid-sized theatres that ape the big theatres and there will be small theatres that do their own thing, some trying to be mid-sized theatres, some not and there will be little theatres struggling for oxygen, growing, blooming, dying in short bursts, all the time, all over. And that is what American theatre will be. And no blog, no book, no single theatre company is ever, ever going to change that. Let's say all of that. a wiser man than I once said, "What are you prepared to do?"

Remember, the first thing we all learn about theatre? It's about action."

- From 99seats

Friday, March 06, 2009

Quiet on the GreyZelda Front ...

... but we're looking to start producing again at the beginning of 2010 if not sooner.

You're welcome to head on over to Rebecca's blog, Terroristic Optimism, for day to day Zellar/Riter goings ons.

Clara kind of sorta says, "Hi."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Future Season Suggestions

Hey there, fearless reader(s) -

We hope you're doing swell and enjoying 2009 ... we're still taking it easy and are focusing on rearin' the little crow girl, Clara. You can read more about day to day happenings with Clara at Rebecca's blog, Terroristic Optimism, should you wish. She's pretty neat, if we do say so ourselves. And we do.

We've got a couple of ideas for future productions being considered. Yes, William Shakespeare, The Gentleman is totally being discussed. Stay tuned for a reading announcement. It's gold, Jerry. Gold. We also have another comedy in mind, too ... my, how lighthearted we're getting! A baby joins the ranks and all you want to do is make the people smile! Huh.

We'd like to open up the floor to see what you might like to see. What production would you like GreyZelda to put up? How do you think it would fit with our mission and general aesthetic? Are you a director with an idea? Are you a writer looking to find a theatre for your show? Are you an actor dying to act in your dream play? A designer with a grand scheme? We dunno. Talk to us. Let us know your thoughts.

You know who we'd really love to hear from? A composer looking to collaborate ... that's what we'd really like for Christmas, we think.

So, yes ... we're in thinktank mode. We're looking forward to brainstorming with you.