Time and place, always important considerations in the theatre, belong to us: the millennials, the 20somethings, the staff of The Grappler. The year is 2013, the place is Chicago, and they’re ours for the taking.
First and foremost, we’ve added a staff. Our operation of two has increased to eleven minds tossing ideas around, fleshing them out, and watching them come into fruition on our website. With the addition of this staff you’ll notice changes to The Grappler’s appearance and content throughout the fall. We will continue to run essays by students and faculty, and will also feature a criticism section, an artist profiles section, an arts issues series, a forum, and more multimedia.
We’ve re-imagined the mission. We still want The Grappler to function in a dramaturgical manner so that it’s a space for artists to discuss and debate the theatrical craft. We’ve noticed the lack of theatre publications that exist for our generation, which perhaps explains the resistance by so much of our generation to engage with theatre while they enthusiastically embrace other art forms.
Young Chicagoans can look to The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Reader, or The Chicago Sun-Times for reviews in this city. While we’ve always known that these publications don’t speak to our generation, two events this summer set us off.
Both events revolved around how the theatre represents groups that have historically been ignored. None of these mainstream publications furthered the conversation in which Jamil Khoury called Mary Zimmerman out for Orientalism in The Jungle Book. After meeting with Zimmerman, Khoury rescinded his stance for the sake of the everyoneintheatreneedstoholdhandsandgetalong approach. We feel the need for more conversation around these issues…not kowtowing to the whim and power of the other side, and certainly not remaining virtually silent.
The second instance also involved Khoury. This was Hedy Weiss’s review of a production at his theatre, Silk Road Rising, Invasion!:
“But despite [playwright] Khemiri’s passion, those still thinking of the horrific terrorist attacks at the Boston Marathon might well be tempted to ask: What practical alternative to profiling would you suggest?”
…and ending her review with her take on the playwright’s argument against racial profiling with:
“Polished, to be sure. But I still don’t buy it.”
We’re astounded that someone who supposedly thinks critically about theatre would even consider racial profiling as a viable terrorist prevention policy.
We’re here to offer a perspective on theatre that kicks it off the fucking pedestal. We’re looking at it face to face, getting up close and personal, and teasing out what’s interesting to us. We’re molding the theatre of our generation by talking about the theatre happening now, voicing our criticism and complaints, and fixing the problems and predicaments that past generations handed us. We’re here to toy with new definitions of theatre, to push conversations in new directions, and provide our perspectives in new and exciting forms.
We’re a young Chicago blog first and foremost, but we’re also aware of our presence in the community of The Theatre School as well as our readership both nationally and internationally.
We’re The Grappler, and we’re ready to go.
Francesco De Salvatore & Mike Doyle