The Beginning: 7/10-7/14 (Chart and Preview)

Use a d% this week!  What does that mean?  Roll 2d10.  One die will be the ten's column.  The other will be the 1's column.  A "00" means "100".
Use a d% this week! What does that mean? Roll 2d10. One die will be the ten’s column. The other will be the 1’s column. A “00” means “100”.

And… we’re back.  After two weeks away from doing reviews, we’re up and running again.  The last two weeks were both ridiculously busy for me, and were abysmally sparse in their new offerings in the theatre world here in Chicago.  I’m going to assume that the reason for the dearth of shows was the same as for my own shortage of time, namely the 4th of July.  No one wants to open a show on 4th of July weekend.  Summer is already a difficult enough time to get city dwellers out to the theatre.  Even this week there are fewer shows than are normally open in Chicago during the academic year.

The reason is clear.  It’s summer.  When I moved to Chicago in 2010, I was assured that this city was awesome in the summer.  There are festivals each and every weekend, there’s the beach, there are all sorts of reasons to be outside.  And that means that there are fewer reasons to go inside. Air conditioning is one of the main reasons to get inside.  So, those shows that are lucky enough to be open during a heat wave might gain a bit, but generally warmth isn’t the friend of the theatre manager.  That is, inside the city limits.

Suburban theatre gains a bit of momentum during this part of the year.  Partly because the suburbanite is more likely to leave the house during the summer, and therefore is more likely to head to any destination with something to do.  Theatre fits that description pretty well.  The thing is, we don’t cover anything that isn’t accessible by the CTA.  So, sadly, the wealth of Suburban offerings this week are not on the chart.

All this is to say that there are only 17 shows on the chart, and in order for that statement to be true, I’ve had to alter what I normally allow on the chart to begin with.  Normally a show needs to have a minimum of a 3-week run.  This week we have a couple of 2-week offerings.  Unlike weeks when we showcase 20 plays, we only have 17 to look at this week.  So, I’ve adjusted the chart to use percentage dice.  I rolled 2d10.  That’s what you should do, too.  Unless you are one of those folks who invested in a 100-sided die.  If so, more power to you.  I, for one, never have enough room in my dice bag for such a thing as that.

Some random stuff:

  • I considered starting this entry with Jack Paar’s line, “As I was saying before I was interrupted…”, from his 1960 return to The Tonight Show.  I decided that the context was different than this situation.  My two weeks away for holiday activity isn’t at all like a protest against censorship.
  • For much of the rest of the summer my daughter will be my theatre buddy.  When this column began back in Minnesota, I would set aside one whole day of the Fringe Festival to attend nothing but children’s shows so that she could go with me.  Now that she’s 15, she’ll just be attending the shows that I roll randomly.  I always enjoy her insight into plays.  She’s a dancer, not a theatre kid, but she has attended many of my rehearsals since she was 2, so she’s definitely grown up in and around the theatre.
  • Using the d20 system for this column has brought back my desire to play table-top RPGs.  I’ve been away from them for about 10 years.  The market has changed drastically since I watched many of my favorite companies go under due to “Open Source Gaming” as put forth by Wizards of the Coast.  I’m glad to see that a number of terrific number of new independent companies are out there putting out some great new games.  This last week, I won a sweepstakes of sorts that gave me a whole bunch of new gaming materials.  A huge thanks to Roleplayers Chronicle!  I will soon be GM-ing a couple of awesome historical campaigns.  One will be something Steampunk.  I’m excited!  Also… If you’re a player, drop me a line.  I’m still looking for a couple of folks to join my group.
  • I have a lot of work to catch up on for my own theatre company.  This is going to be a hectic week of trying to meet all my recently postponed obligations.
  • Trivia Time!  This week’s trivia comes from “Opposite sides of a die always add up to seven” — Obviously, they are talking about a d6.  I don’t currently have time to check out what other types of dice add up to, but that may be something I check out the next time I have far too much time on my hands.