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Originally inspired by European literary salons (but nowhere near as haughty), this newsletter is part round-up, part amusement, and part conversation-starting. It's our post-show pub conversations, only digital! You're encouraged to respond to this email with any insights, feelings, gripes, or revelations. Grab a drink, imagine you’re draped on a velvet sofa, and let’s ponder about plays!
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Yes. We know. It has been a whole year.

Well, this week’s topic is unavoidable and grimly obvious. It has been a year. I’m sure I am not alone in where my head has been this week- mostly cringing at my jokes in theatre lobbies the week of the shutdown that did not age well (Let’s gather while we can! Wink wink) and avoiding the barrage of one-year anniversary features. I’ve replayed over and over the moment Broadway announced it would be dark for a month and I started to quite literally run around my apartment, stunned, panicking and thinking “holy shit, how are they going to make it through A WHOLE MONTH”. The naivete isn’t even cute in retrospect, it just makes me sad. 

Reading any of the “Looking Back to Look Forward” or “The Dark Year” articles feels like picking at a scab. I am only interested in the features that highlight radical and actionable steps towards more equitable work structures. Brandon Ivie’s frustration in his interview in American Theatre Magazine made me laugh, especially when he basically wants to light Zoom readings on fire (or whatever the correct metaphor is for violently destroying digital content.) I also related to Tracy Lett’s depiction of how he has spent his time, which sounds like a mostly distracted effort to binge-watch movies. I’m not trying to be a total downer, but this is a depressing anniversary, and coming face to face with the amount of lost time is complicated. 

On the positive side of it all, I have learned in the last year that I need to join the board of a theatre when I can and that I want to be a union rep. I learned how to ski and spent tons of time with friends and family I haven’t lived close to in almost a decade. I have learned that I am easily riled up about theatre funding structures (or lack thereof). To be honest, I had previously succumbed to the idea that this is how the industry works, without any hope of becoming more equitable. How exciting to no longer be apathetic, but instead a strange mix of pissed off and fired up!

I’m not going to ask you guys what you did over the past year, because that feels like the worst of all questions to ask right now. Instead, I’ll take a cue from the extremely topical Duchess of Sussex and ask- how are you doing? 

What's happening this week.

Where is Hollywood when Broadway needs it? By Laura Collins-Hughes

This article directly addresses the lack of a central leading figure in American Theatre through insightful comparisons to London. Tangible, meaningful action steps are presented (as they were at the six-month anniversary) so let's do something already! Bonus points if you read the sister article published in the Los Angeles Times in December. Read it here >>
Afterwardsness by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company

Live performance is back, baby! Park Ave Armory has vast space to reinvent the audience layouts, and they are taking advantage of their unique architecture by commissioning new work that focuses on scale and coming together. Described as "a feast after the famine" we all deserve to be fed right now. Watch it here >>
Private Reels from Lincoln Center

A free streaming service finally arrives from Lincoln Center starting March 18. We could all use a laugh right now so it is a welcome relief that first up is Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang. Following closely are two recent hard-to-get-tickets Marys Seacole and The Wolves. Watch it here >>
Other Happenings

➤ An Indian theatre festival organized by the Indian People's Theatre Association was canceled after the threat of violence from a right-wing vigilante group. The group claimed a satirical play was "anti-national." Read it here >>

➤  BAM announced a season of outdoor and online shows including Aleesha Harris' What to Send Up When It Goes Down at Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Check it out here >>

➤  HELLO by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas is a performance through a series of texts, voice notes, and video links. Described as a "little experiment" it notes a moment in history and is a view-as-you-please show. Available until March 14Watch it here >>

➤ The Queen's Gambit is being developed into a musical... maybe. Who's to say how the writers of Chess are feeling about the news. Read it here >>
Thoughts?
 
How are you processing and reflecting on this one-year anniversary? 
Read anything good this week? 
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Missed a week? Read all of the previous Salons here!
Olivia is a freelance director who works in Dublin, NYC, and LA. She is preoccupied with German theatre aesthetics, dismantling problematic funding structures, creating work across geographical and cultural boundaries, and why football had a pandemic season (and oh so many outbreaks) when theatres remained closed. 
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