In May of 2010, Brett Love, a self-described "IT guy from the Eastside," took a chance and went to see A Glimmer of Hope or Skin or Light by the dance company Lingo at ACT Theatre. To his shock, it changed his life. "That was the single best piece of entertainment I've ever seen," he says, "better than any book or movie. I was so amazed, I thought, 'What else have I been missing?'" Love, who also describes himself as a "serial obsessionist," decided to find out. "In 2010, I went to 101 things," he says. "In 2011, it was 235. In 2012, I managed 241. And for 2013, I'm sitting around 309." (In 2002, previous reigning superfan Joe Boling saw 427. Beat that, Brett!) Though he sees more theater than most critics, Love rejects the idea of becoming one—he worries that thinking too much about why he does or doesn't like a piece of theater will make him jaded. But Seattle's most ardent theatergoer agreed to share his thoughts about 2013:
What's the best show you saw this year?
So far, Undo by Holly Arsenault at Annex [about a make-believe divorce ritual that requires the couple to have a reverse wedding]. It was such a beautifully written play. It has such a huge cast, but if you sit back and look, each character has their moment and their story. And they cast it really well. The stakes are interesting, and the characters change over the course of the story.
False Peach at On the Boards [Annie Dorsen's experiment in auto-generating a script by subjecting Hamlet to algorithms] is the worst show I've ever seen. I hated everything about that. A lot of that was just complete gibberish. Ugh. But I love On the Boards because they swing for the fences every time.
What about Stu for Silverton, Intiman's new musical this summer?
I did not see that out of spite. I have issues with Intiman. They make a lot of references to being all local, but it drives me crazy that they're not taking advantage of local writers: Yussef El Guindi, Keri Healey, Kelleen Blanchard. They like New York so much, I don't have to! And that weird thing with Stu of "It's not ready for production, but we're gonna do it anyway..." You're only doing four shows a year, so do ones that are ready!
August: Osage County by Balagan?
The play is great for actors—everybody gets their big moment—but from a story perspective, it doesn't do anything for me. Every character is the same when they walk on as when they leave. Nothing changes.
These Streets, the new musical about women in grunge?
I feel like there was a really great show there, a great story, but they didn't do it.
Saint Genet was another polarizing show at On the Boards.
If you want to hear something really stupid I hated about that—I hated the bar. I'm very much a creature of habit, and when I go to On the Boards, I get a Coke. Then they moved the bar inside the theater and said they didn't have Coke. Then the guy sitting next to me comes walking in with a can of Rainier. Like, you can sell someone a can of fucking Rainier, but I can't get a Coke? But the raw spectacle of the show was amazing. They did something original.
Do you ever walk out in the middle of shows?
No, I guess there's an optimist in me, waiting around for someone to save the day. I considered it with False Peach. I was pretty sure it was going nowhere, but I wanted to stick around and be proven correct!