So, after years of dodging the title, I'm officially taking over as The Stranger's performance editor. In doing so, I take up the torch carried by so many venerable perf. eds. of years past, including Bret Fetzer, Scot Augustson, and, king of kings, Matthew Richter, but with one strategic difference: I won't be writing any theater reviews.
For me, this stipulation was key to accepting the position. I started out writing for the theater, and in 1994, The Stranger published an excerpt of my first play. Over the next eight years, I wrote essays, began writing a column, and served in a variety of editorial positions for this here paper. But my refusal to write theater reviews kept me safely out of the running for performance editor, since the idea of hiring someone who wouldn't write reviews was ridiculous. For me, the idea of making theater (already a terrifying venture) with the weight of published critiques of others on my shoulders was equally ridiculous. I needed the ability to make big, stupid mistakes in the theater with impunity; they needed someone to write some goddamn theater reviews. So we called it a draw.
Until now. After a whirlwind tour of different positions (arts editor, managing editor, acting editor in chief), I now serve under the glamorously nebulous title of associate editor, where I apparently do enough to earn my salary (hope those coconuts are cracked to your liking, Mr. Keck!), and it finally makes sense to have me serve as a non-reviewing performance editor.
From this new post, I'll steer The Stranger's theater section, assigning reviews to those freelancers you already know and love (Adrian Ryan, Tamara Paris, and Gregory Zura, primarily). I'll write profiles of notable theater artists; I'll gush about a show in my column, Last Days. (I don't mind writing raves; it's the pans that make me itchy and superstitious.)
As the theater community knows, The Stranger's theater space is at a premium these days. My goal is to give as much ink to as many different venues as possible, and to cover those theater-makers who take their jobs seriously. It makes no difference if the venue is the glammy Seattle Center House or a West Seattle deli; what matters is commitment. Asking people to leave their homes and pay money to sit in the dark is a tremendous responsibility. Take this responsibility seriously, and no one gets hurt.