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BWW Blog: Crisis Management 101 - Pandemics, Performances, and Prosperity

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I’ve whipped up some helpful tips for creating innovative theatrical solutions. Check them out! 

BWW Blog: Crisis Management 101 - Pandemics, Performances, and Prosperity

You would never expect Covid-19 and working in the theatre to have something in common, but as it turns out, they do: both require creative solutions in times of crisis. Whether it be making mid-show repairs to a broken set or seeking long-term ways to stay healthy in a national pandemic, artists deal with issues that require innovative, original thinking. Boy, do I get it! I'm currently trying to find new ways of stretching my apartment's last pint of ice cream to avoid walking five minutes to the store. Oh, the pain! But I digress. More importantly, I've whipped up some helpful tips for creating innovative theatrical solutions. Check them out!

Preparedness is key. As a stage manager, I tend to have my hands full- literally. At any given moment I could be carrying pencils, a script, props, costumes, and the weight of my parent's disappointment that I chose a degree in the arts simultaneously. I often find I never have enough pockets to carry around what I need, so I've started looking for other ways to carry the necessary tools for the job. These include backpacks, fanny packs, Baby Bjorns, and for large loads, a pack mule. I did say creative solutions, didn't I?

Be able to think on your feet. In the middle of shows, you will be thrust into unprecedented situations. You must be able to make snap decisions on how to safely and swiftly solve problems. For example: Imagine you're in the middle of a costume change and your bite light pops out a tooth. What should you do? No, really- what do you do? I'm legitimately asking here because that almost happened to me once. At that time, I panicked and yelled "THE TOOTH FAIRY WILL HANDLE IT!" Turns out, that is not the appropriate response.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. I know that it's hard not to overthink things. I'm overthinking this article right now. But breaking things down helps with identifying the real issues that need to be tackled- and most dilemmas are simpler than you think. If I've learned anything from watching Mythbusters, it's that when in doubt, duct tape can solve any problem. Set won't stay together? Duct tape. Costume piece rips? Duct tape. Lightning issues? Duct tape. I've decided if my actors go up on their lines, I'm just going to throw a roll of duct tape at them and see what happens. I see no flaws in that plan.

While these solutions are particularly applicable to a theatrical setting, there are ways to use these three pieces of advice in a COVID context as well. Be prepared for social interactions- keep a mask in your car and by your door. Stay six feet apart from others and be able to say "no" if someone's getting too close. Lastly, during a pandemic, the simplest solutions work best: to keep yourself healthy, just become a hermit and stay inside forever. I've done so and I recommend it. The only thing that could convince me to go outside now is if they made masks with pockets. THAT is creative thinking.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Maggie Cummins