Last year, I returned to theatre after an 11 year hiatus, and to help reimmerse myself into theatre I took to reviewing shows on my personal blog. Little did I realize that I would not only end up reviewing over 75 shows in the following calendar year, but that my theatre blog would find itself a sizable following and gain me a notoriety I hadn’t anticipated.
I gave it up a few months ago to focus on working and training as an actor, feeling in part that the reviews consequentially hindered my ability to participate in the community, namely that my criticism may have produce a bridge-burning backlash. There was a discernible difference in how people treated me once they discovered I wrote reviews from when they first met me.
After a few months and some experience performing in and assisting with a few shows, I found the fear mostly unfounded. Switching from reviewer to peer didn’t really affect how I connected with the community. As I grew relationships I found that most were fine with me, and it was only a marked few who let my reviewing affect how they treated me. In fact, over time I made a more concerted effort to be honest with peers about my opinion of their work and that of others, and found that as long as my opinion came from a thoughtful, positive and constructive place, not only did I not hurt anyone’s feelings but in fact I strengthened a lot of bonds as peers realized I wasn’t going to pull the wool over their eyes.
A couple of peers have asked me about reviewing shows even though I had officially stated that I had given it up. Realizing there was a lot to see, a lot to discuss and a lot to learn (as well as appreciate) from the work of others… and realizing I hadn’t written as much as I used to and feeling the need to get back into practice… I decided it’s time to start reviewing again.
But there’s a bit of self-conscious embarrassment in mentioning that you write reviews, and then having to point people to a Livejournal blog, with all the sophomoric connotations such a domain comes with. So in deciding to get back in the game, I also decided to create a proper blog, complete with a proper domain, for the purpose. Welcome to misterstevengomez.com.
Below I have seeded the pot with a couple of old reviews, crosslinking to my original post. For now, I have left all my old reviews on the old blog. I would simply migrate all the old posts and wipe them from the old blog (to avoid ironic accusations of plagiarizing myself), but I’ll also disclose that I submitted an application to become a TPS Gregory Awards Nominator for 2011-2012 (I have to imagine such immerse coverage of the scene along with my requisite experience qualifies me for the job). For reference I linked the old blog’s posts. To migrate those posts away anyway, try to follow up and risk confusion with TPS simply isn’t worth the trouble right now, so for now I’ll leave the posts to make it easy on everyone, and wait for my application process to conclude before I move everything over for good.
Meanwhile, a new review or three is coming shortly. Enjoy! I hope I can help shed some light on what’s going on in the fringes of Seattle theatre.