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Bruce Norris' Public Disgrace

by Bruce Norris

To all my friends in Chicago: Okay - I never claimed to be a public speaker – in fact, I've been actively discouraged from ever speaking in public by those who’ve ever had the misfortune to witness me doing it. But, at the recent Tony Awards broadcast I found myself in the awkward position of having to do so on camera before a live national audience. And all I had to do was thank the people that have made it possible for me to make my living as a playwright. So, I made a mental list for myself (since we were sternly warned beforehand: do NOT pull a list out of your pocket), I even made up a little mnemonic device so that I wouldn’t forget anyone - although, tellingly, I can’t now remember what it was - and when I made that list, the penultimate thankee (just before my girlfriend and Lorraine Hansberry) was supposed to be those who've been wholly responsible for (or guilty of) my so-called career as a playwright: Steppenwolf Theatre. And by extension, the entire city of Chicago. And for whatever combination of stupidity, early-onset Alzheimer's or simply naked, quivering panic, I – inadvertently, I swear on my mother's grave – left Steppenwolf off of that list, compounding the error by naming a lot of other theaters I’ve recently worked with. I offer no excuse – I am an utter nincompoop, and will make myself available at dunk tanks throughout the greater Chicago area this summer, where all of you who deserved proper thanks in a national forum can take your best shot at me. Sincerest apologies to all of my pals from Steppenwolf and Chicago. BN