At Our Word 2003

In which the Weekly's critics help the local arts scene approach the New Year with resolve.

1. I, the actor with time on my hands and the thought that I'll tweak my less-than-illustrious career by creating a solo show about my neglected childhood, my failed romances, my dead lover, my sagging organs, my eye-opening trip to a foreign country, my intellectual rebirth, or my difficulties as a homosexual, do hereby resolve to avoid any such thing altogether.

2. We, Seattle's contemporary-music improvisers, resolve to remember that music written out ahead of time—i.e., composed—can be exciting, too.

3. We, the choreographers and producers of Seattle, resolve to avoid massive overbooking on one weekend while other weekends are empty. We admit we said we'd do this last year, but we really mean it this time.

4. We, Seattle's entire theater community, resolve to not open 16 different shows in the same week and then wonder why we can't get proper coverage.

5. We, the city's theaters that are laying off employees because we can't figure our budgets out, will figure our budgets out and stop laying off employees.

6. We, the Seattle Opera, resolve to further dispel the stereotype of operatic elitism by continuing to offer $15 upper-level bargain seats.

7. We, the fringe theater companies who know who we are, swear that we'll try to stage something of quality that actually appeals to people outside the scope of our 50 closest friends, our college mentors, and the loved ones of the actors in our ensemble.

8. We, the Artistic Directors of Pacific Northwest Ballet, resolve to commission a new work from Mark Morris. If the San Francisco Ballet can have an entire evening's worth, we can certainly have one piece.

9. We, the city's bigger theatrical houses, resolve to further the past year's baby steps and continue to cast engagingly capable but unknown actors who might otherwise be stuck in companies looking to appeal to their 50 closest friends, their college mentors, and the loved ones of the actors in the ensemble.

10. I, the concession stand at your local playhouse, promise to quit trying to foist off oatmeal mango espresso nut cookies as anything anyone would ever want to eat and accept the fact that chocolate chip usually sells out for a reason, fer chrissakes.

11. We, the audience members who walked out on the Northwest Chamber Orchestra's performance of Alfred Schnittke's Concerto Grosso No. 1 in September, resolve to accept the fact that incoming music director Ralf Gothoni is probably going to program even more ear-stretching new music in the future, and we will therefore have to seek our Pachelbel Canon fix elsewhere.

12. We, the companies who produce musicals, will recognize that the canon of American musical theater classics extends far beyond The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady.

13. We, the producers of the Seattle International Children's Festival, resolve to offer more evening and weekend performances, so grown-ups can see us, too.

14. We, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, once again vow not to stage anything that requires gilded production values in order to cover up the lack of a good script. We will admit that When Grace Comes In was not a good script, and will promptly apologize for the psychic damage it may have done to the Weekly's critic, who will then stop harping about it.

15. We, the Seattle Center, resolve to keep using the Mercer Arena for arts events after the Opera and the Ballet move out in June, rather than bringing back hockey night.

16. We, Seattle classical musicians, resolve to provide the Weekly with photos more interesting than 8x10 glossy headshots.

17. We, Seattle's classical concert audience, resolve again this year to attend at least one concert in 2003 by an ensemble we've never heard before.

18. I, the person who is going to write in and whine that the opportunity for real critical assessment has been wasted in this space, will try to imagine 12 months of weekly theatergoing and admit that it probably isn't always the bed of roses my noble but deluded good intentions would have me claim it is.

19. We, the choreographers of Seattle, resolve to take a break from tango.

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