Letter from the Editors

Welcome to the “Year of Chicago Theatre!” The Grappler is back from Winter Break and ready to grapple–this quarter we will challenge the norms of criticism and expand our reach to engage with interdisciplinary artistic practices. We are also introducing a selection of new columns, including, but not limited to:

Reviewing the Critic aims to continue the conversations that critics start in their reviews. This column will hold critics accountable in the same way that critics hold artists accountable, and treat criticism as art itself.

I Confess… is a juicy revealing column where our writers divulge their deepest secrets and most embarrassing moments in aim to deconstruct biases and modern-day-theatre-folklore.

In Process endorses the work of student dramaturgs.

In Offstage Annotations, Liz Baughman, staff writer, alternates interviews between TTS and non-TTS students to explore the relationship between students of art and students who interact with art.

The Champion aims to promote and affirm the work of artists who may be less known by the general public and deserving of recognition.

This is a quarter of transition as our Co-Editor-in-Chief, Bri Ng Schwartz (BFA Dramaturgy 2019), will be stepping down and moving into an advisory role as she prepares for graduation at the end of the quarter. In Bri’s final days with The Grappler she will be working with us to redefine and rebrand The Grappler with a new logo. Thank you, Bri, for grappling with us!

We would like to welcome Emma Durbin (BFA Playwriting 2020) as our newest Co-Editor-in-Chief. Emma is a rising-star firebrand and the author of I Am The Great Magic, a book of poetry which can be purchased on Amazon (despite Emma being wildly against Amazon and online shopping which she eliminated from her life-style two years ago. You can ask her about “the milk frother story” if you want to know more…). She has contributed greatly, and at times infamously, to The Grappler through her articles, Laura Biagi’s S.A.D. Love, Please Stop Using Donald Trump As Your Punchline, and The Champion: Ricardo Gamboa, The Wizards, and Hegemonic Gravity. As a playwright, she has written the anti-patriarchal and magical realist play Inside the Palace Royale, which received a reading at the 2018 annual Wrights of Spring festival of new work in Chicago. The Grappler looks forward to these next two years with Emma as she provides the team with her unique and interesting perspectives on playwriting, adaptation, new work, Indigenous rights/environmentalism, sexual violence, consent, feminism, and more!

We have expanded our 4 person operation to a 14 person staff of writers, editors, a treasurer, and an event planner. We maintain our rowdiness and intellectual rigor as we welcome our new staff, passing on the torch from our predecessors.   

As we trudge through the snow of these coming months we will focus on facilitating conversations that affirm new ideas and radical works of art.

Grapple on,

Jordan Scott Hardesty and Emma Durbin


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