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?