I’m a fiend for 2017!
Although, like many people, 2016 was tough because many of my idols died and a good portion of my enemies came into power after a sucker punch of an election, it was also a pivotal year career-wise for me.
Let’s look at some important dates. Considering how late into January I’m publishing this, hopefully it is the last such breakdown you’ll be forced to sit through until November.
JANUARY 12 – Titan Award
One year ago last week, Theatre Bay Area announced that I was a recipient of the Titan Award along with two other extremely talented writers and one extremely talented director. I used the money to crank up the heat on several new plays and on revisions. On the same day, it became public that FaultLine Theatre was producing my play THE ICE CREAM SANDWICH INCIDENT in August.
JANUARY 18 – THE MORRISSEY PLAYS opens
My last work with SF Theatre Pub, which would close for good at the end of the year, was a 10 minute play revolving around the lyrics of The Smiths’ “This Charming Man.” If you aren’t into 1980s college radio, then you might not realize that all of the plays in this production were focused on music by Morrissey, either with The Smiths or his solo work. It was a melancholy time, perfect for a melancholy year!
MARCH 25 – First day at Piedmont Post
I started working as a features writer for the Piedmont Post, an independent, print-only newspaper serving the 11,000 people of Piedmont, CA. It’s been a blast so far, and strengthened my journalism chops like nothing before.
MARCH 28 – Reading of BANTER at TBA Conference
My short play BANTER, set in the 1920s, received a staged reading as part of the Playwrights Cabaret set up at the Theatre Bay Area annual conference. It was my second year participating in the project, and it was a fantastic outlet.
APRIL 16 – Opening of HOME INVASION
After four years of working together, 6NewPlays, the playwright collective I was part of founding, finally opened our inaugural production. HOME INVASION, by Chris Chen, was a site-specific existential romp that sold out before it even opened.
JUNE 1 – I moved!
Bye bye, Oakland, hello San Francisco! Although still mad love for the East Bae, but got to love being less than a block away from Golden Gate Park.
JULY 6 – Promoted to City News editor
After just three months at the Post, I was promoted to replace the long-time City Editor after she took a new position. Again, its been quite a fulfilling career move, and now I really know the difference between a burglary and a robbery.
AUGUST 5 – THE ICE CREAM SANDWICH INCIDENT opens
In August, my play THE ICE CREAM SANDWICH INCIDENT opened to very positive reviews and impressive houses at PianoFight theatre in downtown San Francisco. I’m am beyond grateful to FaultLine Theatre for taking a chance on this wacky, often dark piece, as well as for the solid work of director James Nelson, who left after opening weekend to start an MFA program at the University of Indiana. The piece got some revived attention in December, when Theatre Arts Daily declared it the “Best New Work” of 2016 and called it “aggressively bizarre and bizarrely aggressive.” It will forever be a highlight of my career as a dramatist.
NOVEMBER 4 – dark is a different beast opens
Andrea Hart’s fiery “dark is a different beast”, the second production ever by 6NewPlays, opened in San Francisco, a huge success for us as a group. After so many years of planning and scheming, it was so awesome to see us actually pull through and put up an awesome new play more than once.
NOVEMBER 9 – Record breaking day for BarryEitel.com
I wrote a piece on theatre after the election that became my most viewed blog post since I humbly began this website in 2012. I mean, it didn’t get like an amazing amount of attention but a record is still a record. Oh yea and Donald Trump was elected president yikes!
DECEMBER 23 – The Chronicle loves THE SPEAKEASY
THE SPEAKEASY, a massively immersive theatrical wonder that I helped forged several years ago, reopened this year in a much larger space to raving reviews. As the original Head Writer of the piece, it was incredible to see it blossom once again.
AND A LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Some of what to look for in 2017:
- THE COOL, a new jazz play with like 15 actors and lightly immersive staging, is opening at Amado’s in February.
- My work will again appear at the TBA Conference as part of the Titan Showcase.
- ISHTAR IN SYRIA (a working title), an allegory about the Syrian Civil War, will be part of the SF Olympians Festival in October. It’s my first time being part of the readings series, and I’m thrilled they were willing to take a chance on a piece on such an important subject for a full-length piece.
- The march of 6NewPlays continues! Erin Bregman’s THAT IT ALL MAKES PERFECT will go up in two months, followed in the fall by Eugenie Chan’s MADAME HO. And….I’ll begin preparing for my 5 of the 6NP — CHAMPAGNE is scheduled to go ahead sometime next spring.