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On Being A Muse

September 12, 2008

When I see my name on a press release, it's usually at the tail-end of a quote that a theatre company has pulled from one of my reviews about its work. I'll come across lines like "'Very Good!' -- Chloe Veltman, SF Weekly" and sigh, knowing full well that the phrase pulled from my review is missing the word "not" at the front of it.

Yesterday, however, my name appeared on the publicity materials advertising a company's new show in an entirely different context: For the first time in my life -- at least to my knowledge -- a piece of my writing has inspired the creation of a theatrical production.

Here's what the press release for Sleepwalkers Theatre's upcoming production about the elections, March to November, says:

"Inspired by SF Weekly theatre critic Chloe Veltman's January 9th article "Election Stage Left," which challenged Bay Area playwrights and theatre companies to create more "political" works, Sleepwalkers answers the call to arms with a classic hero story that assess the relevance of overtly political theatre. With the upcoming election as a backdrop, March to November, by Sleepwalkers co-founder Tore Ingersoll-Thorp, is an examination of one artist's search to find political responsibility in her work."

I'm not sure whether to feel flattered or alarmed by this news. I'm happy that people are doing something with my work other than using it to line the cat box. Then again, the article (and its author) may end up being the butt of some elaborate theatrical joke. Which I guess wouldn't be so bad.

Whatever the intention and the outcome, I'm looking forward to seeing and maybe reviewing the show. As as I said in the concluding line of my essay, if a local theatre company manages to put on a smart and beautiful play about election season that makes me question my generally lazy liberal beliefs, then "I'll be happier than a Republican congressman handing out buttons at a high-school abstinence drive."

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