Whew! The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind blur of commuting every week to the city of the gateway arch, and pulling in long hours on an intense strategy project. That’s the reason for the MIA, people. This grueling schedule will continue till mid January 2012 so if I’m popping in and out of this blog just keep mind I’m stuck in the middle of Missouri. As I read through the scant arts and culture listings in St. Louis’ equivalent of the Chicago Reader, the Riverfront Times, I’m struck by how culturally emaciated the denizens of this fair-sized Midwestern city seem to be. During the past several weeks, the only things playing in the city has been God of Carnage, the touring production of The Addams Family, Blood Wedding, The Who’s Tommy, and Nuts (which was turned into a movie in the late 1980s and starred Barbra Streisand as a high-class callgirl on trial for murdering one of her clients. Babs as a ‘ho? Seriously, it sounds like a sci-fi film to me). It’s a meager plate that makes me so thankful for our gloriously diverse and vibrant theater scene: on one weekend two weeks ago, I managed to catch two Chicago premieres of the works of contemporary European playwrights – Trapdoor Theatre‘ s expectedly whacked-out production of Werner Schwab’s OVERWEIGHT, unimportant: MISSHAPE – A European Supper, and Sideshow Theater Company’s more restrained staging of a similarly unconventional play, Marius von Mayenburg’s The Ugly One. Although I’m not a big fan of both, I’m still grateful Chicago affords me a look into such idiosyncratic material. I wonder how both will play in St. Louis.