BWW Blog: Living and Learning During the Pandemic
I never in a million years thought that I would live through a global pandemic. Just saying it aloud now that we are in the middle of one still feels incredibly strange. It is insane to think that even in the days leading up to the shutdown of New York, most people did not really seem to realize the gravity and magnitude of the crisis we were about to face. I was riding the packed E train from Queens to Manhattan with my roommates like I always did. My family and I were able to casually dine in at some of our favorite restaurants. And I literally (unknowingly) saw the last Thursday performance of Jagged Little Pill before Broadway theaters and venues across the country were forced to shutter their doors.
And it's weird, because sometimes I'm sitting in my house doing normal things like homework or watching an unhealthy amount of The Good Place, and just for a moment I forget about the fact that there is a literal pandemic raging outside. It feels like I spend every waking moment feeding off of the stressors that come from social media and the news, until I have a few seconds to myself where things feel like the way they did before. I have always been someone who struggled to live in the moment, but I have grown to value the little things and appreciate the small shreds of familiar normalcy that occasionally pop up in my daily life.
The adjustment to online learning was undoubtedly difficult. I attend St. John's University, and they sent us home with the promise that we would be back in 2 weeks when the situation in NYC was under control. However during that time period, we were informed that in-person classes were suspended for the remainder of the semester and that all course work would be adapted to an online format. No one was allowed back to the dorms, and I have been home in Pennsylvania ever since. It is now June, and I still have not been back to New York, or even back to campus to simply retrieve my things. Additionally, the housing selection for next semester has been suspended for the time being, which begs the question of whether or not we will be allowed back to Queens in the Fall. Conditions around the country, and most notably in New York City, are starting to greatly improve, so I am hopeful for a semi-normal life on campus next semester, even if that means wearing masks, having adjusted class formats, and continuing to maintain social distancing procedures to some extent.
It has definitely been a challenge to keep theatre in my life during this time. Sometimes, I feel even more in-tune with the Broadway community than I ever have, since everyone is constantly staying connected through things like livestreams, online workshops, and virtual benefit concerts. But at the same time, there is a tangible distance, both geographically and emotionally, between myself and the theatre world that I have come to love and rely on. This emptiness in my heart has been filled not only by the professional theatre community and their efforts to keep the magic of the arts alive, but by my own college's theatre program. St. John's is home to the Chappell Players Theatre Group, a group that I am truly so proud to be a member of. For us, social media has been a huge help in keeping our members engaged with each other and the community we love. Most notably, the organization is currently collaborating with our branch of Alpha Psi Omega, The National Theatre Honor Society, to establish Songs for Hope (poster below). This online concert will benefit St. John's Bread and Life, an organization that is actively working to alleviate hunger and poverty in Brooklyn and Queens. Service has come to be a foundational aspect of my life, so being able to keep theatre present in our community while also raising money for an incredible organization is a really special thing. The concert will air June 7th at 8pm on YouTube, and I'll be performing one of my favorite tunes from Waitress!
Thanks so much for reading! I'm so excited to spend the summer blogging for BroadwayWorld and sharing some more specifics about my college theatre journey and my passion for this arena! If you'd like, you can find me on Instagram @mauraconsedine_ + @maurainthecity!