It’s official. Another Stark Insider writer has joined the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. I could not be more pleased to announce that the prolific Cy Ashley Webb was admitted last week.
Since Cy began writing for us in March of 2010, she has risen to the upper echelons of theater writing in record time. I was surprised to learn that she has written over 125 stories, reviews, and editorials for SI in a span of only 16 months. An amazing achievement by any standard. But it’s not the numbers that impress most. Cy brings a unique, informed perspective. It’s one that brings out the best in the arts: it provokes, challenges, inspires. If I’m sounding just a little bit biased, please indulge me and realize I’ve fallen under the spell; having read each and every one of her articles, I’ve watched this voice emerge.
There are many gems to pick from when reviewing Cy’s work.
Her 6-part (!) series on the Ring series at San Francisco Opera was an engaging read and revealed a sharp wit, and an accute eye. “While modernist takes are not novel, I suspect none will be so successful in putting all the Brünnhildes with horns to bed. Zambello’s sets and costumes confronted every Wagnerian trope head on,” she wrote in her summation, in what was one of the biggest theatrical events of the year.
But it’s not just the large, big budget productions. I’m also pleased that Cy shares the same passion that I do about covering the small theaters too- the black boxes, the community-driven productions; the under-covered shows where the artistic directors and actors can be seen stapling posters around town. We aim to fill that “hyper-gap” when possible. The intimidate Dragon Theatre, on Alma in Palo Alto is a perfect example. From her review of A Streetcar Named Desire: “New York Times Reviewer Ben Brantley once commented that Blanche vacillates between strength and fragility, and those who play her end up coming down too hard on one side of the other. Brantley’s observation is spot on because the dramatic tension is lost if the actress errs on either side, leaving the audience to wonder why they’re spending so much time with this character.”
I should add that her brain appears to never rest. Aside from being busy with Children’s Theater in Palo Alto, and finishing a PhD at Stanford she still manages to find time to read. Her book reviews are equally memorable. From the review of Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflicts, Cy demonstrates a deft hand at rendering thoughtful criticism, “The deaths of Anwar Sadat and Yitzhak Rabin leave a gaping scar across the Mideast, illustrating the price paid by successful peacemakers. The techniques Noll proposes offer no security to the very real risks paid by the successful peacemaker, and nor do they point to how mediating agreements between leaders give rise to agreements between peoples.”
Congratulations Cy. I’m so honored to count you as a colleague on Stark Insider, and thank you. The SFBATCC has just gained a well of talent.
“Directormdf” perhaps said it best in his recent comment:
I heart Ms. CY ASHLEY WEBB, her writing and observations are spot on. Stark Insider is very lucky to have her on board!
Read articles by Cy Ashley Webb here.