Karli Blalock is a Chicago-based sound designer. I was so curious as to how Karli discovered her love for sound design, and how she has built such a thriving career -seemingly overnight- in a male-dominated field. Karli and the other amazing women and femmes in sound are changing the nature of technical professions in Chicago theater, and I am so excited to share the story if this uniquely talented designer with you.
"We’re so quick as an American society to dismiss what teenage girls are into and what they talk about, and we think it is “lame,” it’s “weak,” it’s “not cool"...it’s important for young girls to see themselves on the stage, and not to see them as objects, but as these women in uniforms who are athletes, just ready to play the game." -Isa
Avi Roque is a theater artist I've admired for their energy, generosity, and thoughtfulness since I began working in Chicago. Most often involved in productions as a performer (Men on Boats, The Crucible), they have taken on the role of assistant director for TimeLine's upcoming Boy. It focuses on the story of Adam, who, while assigned male at birth, is raised to believe he is a girl, and then transitions back to his assigned gender as a teenager. This play by Anna Ziegler is historically controversial as it centers a transition and a major reorganization of an identity, yet is at the same time is not a transgender play. I was really curious as to Avi's relationship with this piece, why they took it on, and how the hat of assistant director is treating them.
BrittneyLove Smith is a Chicago-based actor, and has worked with companies such as American Theater Company, The Hypocrites, and About Face Theatre. She just recently closed Breath, Boom by Kia Corthron with Eclipse Theatre Company. The play follows Prix and several other women involved in gangs in the Bronx. The piece relentlessly depicts the almost unimaginable circumstances these women face, and is a testament to their endurance and creativity as they work to survive them. However, Corthron’s play never lets its audiences forget that the world onstage is a real one for many, and that it’s not going away any time soon. I wanted to talk to BrittneyLove about how she worked to represent Prix in all her complexities, and the importance of investing in narratives such as this one.
Sean Estelle is a community organizer and theater artist currently working with the climate change prevention organization Power Shift Network. I have seen Sean go from organizing students and working on actions in the morning, to performing at Salonathon at night. While Sean is not the only individual doing work in both political organizing and performance, they have what I have always felt to be an extremely unique experience of both these fields and, importantly, an understanding of how we might move them closer together, reinvigorating the relationship between performance and action.
"my job, especially as a queer black man, is to show you the violence of hiding yourself, and what you lose when you’re not honest with yourself." For my first interview, I sat down with Ian Martin, who is about to close The Toilet by Amiri Baraka, as a part of Director’s Haven 2017. Ian is a director/performer, as well as an administrator/producer at the Goodman Theatre.