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Welcome to Salon!

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!
This newsletter is free, but if you'd like to sustain the project you can support me on Venmo @OliviaSonger or PayPal

Reopening is nigh! 

Hi everyone and welcome back! I took my first week off to move myself back to NYC, baby! I never knew that my life would involve driving a much-too-large U-Haul across multiple drawbridges (yes, DRAWBRIDGES, what the hell New Jersey) but I have to say, it feels damn good to be back. The sun is shining, the vaccines are flowing (or jabbing?) and the energy is contagious. 

Being back in New York has thrust the “reopening” phase into my direct view. I am experiencing every emotion in regards to work coming back- but my most striking impression is that scripted, rehearsed theatre seems to be staying online (with the exception of Shakespeare in the Park) and that in-person offerings veer towards the concert, stand-up, quick music-set variety. I’m guessing that this is mostly because of rehearsal constraints, but it brings into focus more long-term questions for reopening. Are there hybrid forms of rehearsing that would allow for more traditional theatre to open? Can we “bubble” like many dance companies and film sets? (Don’t get me started with sports bubbles and sneaking instagram models in…) Are plays too long? Is the pressure of reinventing and reopening going to stress us out even more? How am I going to feel when some of my colleagues are working sporadically again, and I’m not? 

As always, can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Happy Spring!

What's happening this week.

"Everyone Knows He's Just a Monster" by Tatiana Siegel in The Hollywood Reporter

In the frustrating aftermath of the Broadway "me too" article that was never published, this piece on producer Scott Rudin's abusive and horribly toxic antics is long overdue. I stand by my stance that it is not difficult to make art and also be a decent human being. Can he please go to an island somewhere and never come back? Read it here >> 
Invisibility and Objectification Can Kill by Diep Tran

A beautiful and painful account of being an Asian American artist including deep dissections of problematic work and thoughts on how to move forward. Interesting to read in conversation with what is going on with the disbanding of the LA Stage Alliance this week. Read it here >>
The Protests Continue in France's Theatres

The movement in France continues and now features "agoras" or "a form of outdoor assembly halfway between a political rally and an open-mic session." The messaging of the movement has shifted to focus not on comprehensive support for artists rather than reopening measures as cases continue to climb. Read it here >>
Other Happenings

➤ One of the silver linings of the whole pandemic is how theatre is suddenly accessible from your bed, or any small town around the world. Esmé Weijun Wang's experience of being isolated as a traditional audience member due to illness is poignant, and something we must consider as we launch into the reopening frenzy. Read it here >>

A few artistic directors in the UK reflect on the failures of imagination at their theatres throughout the pandemic. They acknowledge that our industry can be filled with thought-leaders and also struggling to reinvent. Read it here >>

➤  These two articles spark a dynamic conversation when read together. Each provides a contrasting perspective on what it felt like to be back in a theatre. Read the Vulture article here >>
Read the WaPo article here >>


➤ Season announcements abound including outdoor, online and hybrid seasons from Williamstown, St. Ann's, South Coast Rep, Milwaukee Rep and Barrington StageRead announcements here >>
Thoughts?
 
What are your thoughts on reopnening? 
Has theatre's leadership structure prolonged our ability to open? 
What safety measures do you need in order to return as an audience member? 
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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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