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  • Writer's pictureBen Kemper

Kemper Corner Reviews

Gentle Reader,


My name is Ben Kemper. I'm a dramatic critic, in every sense of the word. I write reviews of plays, movies, readings, and concerts. I do this for my own enjoyment and so that something of the ephemeral nature of performance is set down.


I write by certain rules.

  1. Review the show you see.

  2. Where you can, be kind.

  3. Comment on the performance, not the performer.

  4. Get out of your own way.

  5. Try to put your reader there in the moment.

  6. Make it something you wouldn't mind reading yourself.

  7. Make it fun.

I've no training in journalism though I have worked as a storyteller, and actor, and playwright. I got started doing this in college, then worked for the Chicago Theatrical Review. I don't get paid (expect occasionally in tickets). I do it cuz I can.


I've spent most of my life in the theater. It's the place I feel most comfortable, most at home. I always wanted to take home points of the performances I saw that meant the most to me. I'm sure there's a trunk somewhere of the raggedly clipped reviews from shows past. But only a few captured the magic in print. So I had to do the job myself, and sinceI can't teach so I might as well criticize.


Oh, and I also run a tiny personal contest called the Aven Tavishel Nifty Name Award (ATNNA), for the performer or designer with the niftiest name encountered that year. Past winners include Forrest Goodluck, Charlotte LeBon, and Watson Swift.

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