BWW Interview: GOING DARK, Part 10 - Kristin Küns
GOING DARK is an exclusive interview series that highlights the affect of the virus pandemic on the performing arts. Artists around the country are out of work, with no end in sight and no promise of when theatres will re-open. This dark period has not just dimmed the lights on Broadway, but in community and professional theatres everywhere. This uncertainty brings a whole new level of anxiety, the likes of which the world has never seen before. In part 10 of GOING DARK, OKC based performing artist Kristin Küns gives her account of the theatre world and how this pandemic is affecting her career. These are the real, honest stories of a global pandemic, told by performers in their own words.
This is GOING DARK.
BWW: What were you working on that was canceled or postponed because of the pandemic?
KK: At the time of the cancellations, I had two shows lined up. I hadn't yet been given the all-clear to announce them, but they were two plays in which I was really looking forward to participating. It was kind of a weird process for me. I closed The Great American Trailer Park Musical on March 14th, and the next day, I found out one project was postponed. The second project was postponed a few days later. I went from celebrating a successful run of a show with friends and colleagues, and getting ready for the next project, to feeling the effects of a shut-down community and not knowing what the future holds.
BWW: How have all the cancellations affected your plans for future work? Has it extended into the summer and beyond?
KK: Well, that's an interesting question. I would've started rehearsals in a week for the first show, and would've been working all the way until the end of June. There has been talk about moving the June show, but nothing is really concrete. I really don't know what's in store for the next six months or beyond. The scariest part is figuring out how to pay bills. In school, we were always taught that working as an actor is more than possible, but sometimes that requires having a day job. I've been fortunate enough to live off acting contracts, either for half or for all of my income. I mean, I've had some sticky financial situations - which, who doesn't when you're navigating life through a new, big city? - but, I don't think anyone goes through their training expecting a near economic collapse to occur within the first five years of them graduating college. It's pretty unimaginable.
BWW: Have you been able to find any bright spots during this dark time? What has been helping you through?
KK: I'm not gonna lie to you - it has been a struggle. I have been dealing with increased OCD-related anxiety, panic attacks and depression. However, the song "No One is Alone" from Stephen Sondheim's classic Into the Woods has been a comforting reminder for me that we are all in this together, and that this too shall pass.
Music, in general, has really gotten me through this time. I've made a Spotify playlist to help myself and others. I'm thankful for the people in my life who have encouraged me that we'll get through this. I've had great conversations with loved ones and friends that I haven't gotten to talk with in a long time. I'm doing some visual artwork, catching up on house cleaning, and doing some songwriting. There are also some awesome Facebook groups for digital performances that I've joined.
As cheesy as it sounds, I think our lives are works of art, and we can choose to create with them. I want other artists (and people in general) to know that although there is a universal loneliness, our current feelings are not going to define our fate.
By all means, take the time to FEEL whatever feels come your way, however deep and strong they may be. But tomorrow, we're gonna all wake up, and we'll be that much closer the next curtain-up.