C-K’s Work/Life: Christina Calvit.
C-K Work/Life features stories about the many hobbies, passion projects, side gigs, interests and hustles that C-Kers pursue in their lives.
Christina Calvit is an SVP, group creative director at Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago. But she also has a long career as an award-winning playwright, writing over a dozen theatrical adaptations performed throughout the United States and Canada. We talked to Christina prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and, since then, her play Loki, the End of the World Tour, which was to be staged in May has been postponed.
If you would like to make a donation to Lifeline Theater, where Christina is an ensemble member, they have an online benefit on April 30.
How long have you been writing plays? What got you into it?
I’ve written plays since college at Northwestern. I trained as an actor there, but it’s a liberal arts degree, so there were lots of opportunities to stretch writing muscles. One was a playwriting workshop.
What is your biggest inspiration when you write?
My home theater, Lifeline in Rogers Park, has a mission to reinterpret literary works, so my inspiration usually starts with a book I like. Then I try to focus the play because of something that’s happening culturally/politically that I’m interested in.
Have you ever had writers block? What do you do to help it?
Nope. Advertising trains you to write whenever, however. Not that the writing is always good. But you can always come back and make it better. And as an ensemble member [at Lifeline], I get a lot of feedback from my colleagues throughout the process, so they help me over hurdles too.
Do you have a favorite spot to write?
Not really. I do like to go for walks to work things out in my head.
What are you working on now?
Loki, the End of the World Tour. It’s a rock musical about the Norse gods that upends what we think about those characters because of Marvel or whatever. It’s been fun and terrifying.
UPDATE FROM CHRISTINA: Well, COVID-19 has taken Loki, the End of the World Tour down too. Maybe it is the end of the world but it’s definitely the end of us, at least for a while… Loki’s been postponed until next spring. Maybe longer. On the plus side, we now have time to make a concept album, which will build excitement for our ultimate opening. Whenever that is.
Truthfully, these are bad times for Chicago theaters, especially for those, like Lifeline, that have mortgages and staff. Some of the smaller itinerant theaters can just stop performing until things open up again, and the big ones have endowments they can draw from. But we, like much of America, live month to month with a mortgage to pay.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Go see Chicago theater [when you can]! There are so many great companies doing so much cool work.