Dec 31, 2022

Looking Back at 2022

Over the last decade or so I have also been doing a year-in-review here on the website to take stock of the past year (for those even mildly curious, here is 20122013201420152016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021). 2022 was the first year since the Covid-19 pandemic hit that the world seemed like it returned to a new sort of "normal." By this I mean theatres and festivals began to open once more (though audience numbers are still pretty low), people could meet face to face to socialize and plan projects again and things like shopping, dining and working out didn't feel so much like stepping into the Twilight Zone. Here’s the rundown of what I was up to in 2022...

Nothing really got going until the spring. In April I directed an evening of four David Ives one-acts, collectively entitled All In The Timing at the college I teach at. This project was one of the things cancelled back in the Spring of 2020. At that time, I was a co-director responsible for two plays. When it finally got around to being produced, I had the whole bill. This was the first in-person directing I had done in a long while and with students who had been taking online classes for the previous few years. It was rough. The plays didn't turn out bad, let's just say I was glad to have it over with.

A student actor in Variations on the Death of Trotsky by David Ives.

Words, Words, Words by David Ives

In March I teamed back up with my friend Jeff Swearingen and we put out long-form improv duo Fun Grip back together. We had been on a hiatus since 2014. We started doing regular gigs once or twice a month at the Dallas Comedy Club down in the Deep Ellum neighborhood adjacent to downtown Dallas. There was a few rough patches at the beginning to get my sea-legs back under me, but within a few weeks, I was enjoying improv again. Jeff and I slowly got better and better. We still have a ways to go to consistently tell a coherent story on stage and hit all the character beats and laugh lines, but we are still making progress.

In early July Fun Grip played as one of the Saturday night headliners at the 2022 Big Weekend of Improv Festival, produced by the Alternative Comedy Theater. That was fun, since the fest had troupes in from all over the country.

Fun Grip at the Addison Theatre Center as part of the 2022 Big Weekend of Improv

I managed to travel out to more fringe festivals finally. In late June I drove out to Denver for the Denver Fringe Festival. It was a unique fest. They had started it during the pandemic, so this past summer was the first time they held it as a live event at multiple venues. I performed in the back events room at the Blue Moon Brewery. It was great to travel again and to perform my show Robert's Eternal Goldfish for new audiences. If you are curious about how the experience was for me, listen to episode 32 of the Cultivated Playwright Podcast.

At the Denver Fringe

The end of the summer saw me at another fringe, this time closer to home. I performed Robert's Eternal Goldfish again for a long weekend at the Ft. Worth Fringe Festival in mid-September. Again, audiences were low, but to those that came out, a good time was had by all. in a review that ran, I was called "funny and booming." I did a debriefing about this festival experience also on the Cultivated Playwright Podcast. Listen to episode 33 for the rundown.

My kiddo came out to see the show in Ft. Worth (I cleaned the language up for that one).

My teaching career continued to go down hill with attendance numbers at the college being still super low (they were low before the pandemic, but now it looks like classes on campus might not make again for adjuncts for years). I taught high school-for-college students at a high school. I disliked it intensely.

Though I wasn't teaching on campus, I did direct there again. this time, I directed one of my own plays, Que Sera, Giant Monster. The experience was a breath of fresh air. the students were all enthusiastic and the design was amazing. My only regret was that it only showed for a single long weekend in November.

A big moment from Que Sera, Giant Monster.

Just before the end of the year I published an ebook version of the ten-minute holiday plays I wrote for Nouveau 47 Theatre between 2013 and 2017. A paperback version was released right after the new year.

Besides the usual creative endeavors, I also recorded 8 episodes of my podcast The Cultivated Playwright, including a very special remembrance of Sir Peter Brook, who passed on this past summer at the age of 97 (episode 35). I also adapted the transcript of that episode into a hefty essay on Brook and his immense influence on me as a theatre-maker.

I also posted several YouTube videos, in particular, on camping. I got to camp just a very few times last spring and this fall. This is something, I'm hoping to remedy next year.

I spent time with friends and family, saved a bit of money, took better care of my health and felt more gratitude this past year. I am starting to feel excitement again for what the future may hold, which is a welcome feeling after the last few years of relative creative inertia.

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