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BWW Blog: Being Alive - An Ode to Fellow Theatre Artists

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Since being involved in a virtual show currently, a lot of feelings and thoughts have arisen out of it.

BWW Blog: Being Alive - An Ode to Fellow Theatre Artists

Getting the opportunity to still do theatre in some capacity has truly been a blessing. It has been a learning experience, and a weird process without a doubt but it has given me something to look forward to these last few weeks. Trying to adapt in this new world is difficult. Theatre artists are practically relearning how to create art on an entirely new platform. It can be super rewarding. When else would we all have an opportunity to create like this? Yes, I'm sure we would have at some point. This year has just expedited the process!

While there are many good things to come out of this experience with virtual theatre, I have to come clean and say that I wish we would all just wait.

Now, that is hard to say. And believe me, I think we've waited enough for theatre. Why should we continue to wait any longer? What is the point in waiting when the strong pull to keep doing "live theatre" is ever present?

Since being involved in a virtual show currently, a lot of feelings and thoughts have arisen out of it. Seeing other virtual productions run into many technical issues during their processes has also made me question the need to actually continue doing things virtually. Technology is a beast. It is complicated, confusing, and draining to understand. There are so many pieces that go into it. The structure is out the window. Everything has been so chaotic and on the spot. It's frustrating to keep track of, as well as still try to act while doing it. Structure is what makes a show. Having those specific guidelines and deadlines is what helps move the show along. Without those, it has felt like an endless cycle of new things to process transforming my brain into soup.

I appreciate the efforts. I really do. Everyone in my bubble with the show is trying, and that is what is important. However, I just feel even further away and more disconnected compared to how I started off.

The business of getting some type of show ready to present to the world seems superficial. It seems rushed, and stressful. It almost feels like we're doing this because we feel we have to. We're artists, this is what we do. Create theatre, and create art. But I feel like there is a lack

collectively to want to actually do it. Sure, there might be some enjoyment in doing it. It makes us all feel like this is still normal, that life is normal. There comes a time when we have to be honest with ourselves and evaluate the reasons for our actions.

My voice teacher told me something in a voice lesson a few weeks ago and it has stuck with me ever since. She said, "just because theatre has stopped, and you are unable to sing/act/perform, doesn't mean you're still not a singer, or a performer".

BWW Blog: Being Alive - An Ode to Fellow Theatre ArtistsWhen she said that, my brain stopped. And I took a breath. She was right. Just because we can't do those things now does not mean those things aren't who we are still. We didn't lose the ability to sing during quarantine. We haven't lost the ability to read and work on our craft. That is what I keep forgetting. Theatre is so much of my identity, and of who I am. Not having an outlet to perform right now the way I really want to is rough. I am still an artist. I can still create without the pressure of needing to "put on a show". Working on monologues, or writing, or finding new repertoire for my song book is still creating!

I wish things were different. I wish this wasn't the new normal. I wish we could put on a live performance without the technical, computer struggle or confusion. Unfortunately, we can't. It will always be a big process now. Normally, I would not mind that and I would welcome the new challenges. I just don't know if I can mentally handle any more turmoil.

These last few months have felt like a never ending story that keeps being rewritten day-to-day, adding something new to each chapter. This story doesn't have an ending in sight, and that's quite unique. I know everyone's story is different. Everyone has their own chapters they are trudging through. Yet, some things look very similar across this series of novels.

Not doing theatre live has eaten me up. It's shaken me to my core every single day. I love performing. However, virtual theatre will never be the same as doing it live. No matter how hard we all try, it just will not be. It's creative for sure, and allows something new to happen! Personally, I'm sick of the unknown and new things. I would rather stay put for the time being, continue working on my art myself, and be ready for when we actually can perform again.

Don't get me wrong, doing this virtual show has been incredible. Going to rehearsals and attempting to perform with a group of people has felt nice. Dare I say it has felt normal. Except, I am in a room by myself. I perform to my computer or my phone when we need to record scenes, not a tangible human being. It feels so apocalyptic to me. This is not normal. As I've said, it is simply just our new normal. I don't know how to feel. I don't even know what normal is anymore after almost 9 months living in this unconventional world. I know I don't want to continue writing this story the way my pen is leading me.

Virtual theatre is still okay to do. If you have the willpower, the drive, and the desire to continue putting out performances, go for it! If you don't, then don't! The whole point I want to get across is that there seems to be pressure right now on artists to move our worlds to the internet. Not everyone should have to do that, or even wants to. That is what I mean by waiting still. I know

it's difficult, and foreign. But, we can do it. Continue living your life, and writing your chapter every day the way YOU want to. Don't write it to please the rest of the community. Your desires and wants are a priority. Your book and your story is a priority. YOU are a priority.

Words fail sometimes. It is hard to articulate truly how you feel with concrete words. Theatre helps. Do whatever makes you feel like Being Alive right now. Cultivate the artist that is in you, and remember why you do what you do. The light isn't out, just dim. And remember theatre will always be there, to help us survive...Being Alive.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Josie Reynolds