BWW Interview: GOING DARK, Part 12 - Maggie Spicer Brown
As the pandemic continues to sweep across the world, leaving death and destruction in its wake, theatres everywhere are still dark. No shows being put on means no work - for writers, dancers, singers, actors, directors, technicians, and teams of company members. The GOING DARK series is a chance for out-of-work, quarantined artists to tell their stories. In their own words, they explain the impact of this unprecedented pandemic, and how it's affecting them professionally, personally, artistically, mentally. Part 12 features performing artist Maggie Spicer Brown.
This is GOING DARK.
BWW: What were you working on that was canceled or postponed because of the pandemic?
MSB: We were working on Matilda at Casa Manana in Fort Worth and I was planning to direct a show in my hometown. Wally Jones, Casa's Executive Producer, and the staff at Casa Manana believed in the production and the quality of work the cast presented so we are currently on postponement for July, which is a blessing. The future of my potential directing is up in the air until we have a better idea of when theatres can pick up production once more.
BWW: How has this pandemic affected you personally and professionally?
MSB: It's very tough. I was looking at actively working on shows for the next several months, and the rug was sort of tugged out from us all. I am lucky that some of those opportunities were rescheduled or far enough out they may not need adjustment, but for at least another 10 weeks, I'm treading water. I am also a dance teacher at Casa Manana Studios where the education department is working very hard to provide theatre education to our students via Zoom, YouTube, Facebook Live, any outlet possible to retain student engagement. My husband, Justin, and I are reevaluating our future locations/move/jobs/etc. weekly since we can't really set anything in stone. I get very overwhelmed looking at the news, reading tweets, I've cried a lot, but I've also read more books, baked a lot and painted things for friends. I'm trying to create tasks that could brighten my own day or that of friends and family members as that's the safest option we have for the time being.
BWW: Do you think the theatre world will ever be the same again? Do you think we can somehow come back just as good, if not better?
MSB: In 2001, I was in South Pacific at Salina Community Theatre at the time of the 9/11 attacks. My father, Michael Spicer, was the director of the production as well as the Artistic Director of the theatre itself. He made the decision to continue with the production as scheduled, and as a cast we sang God Bless America after bows. I didn't totally understand the gravity of what that addition meant to the audience in that time, and that continuing to produce art brought a small sense of normalcy we were all looking for. I think we are looking at a similar situation when it is safe and in the best interest of the community to provide live theatre once more: a small sense of normalcy through entertainment. I think those in the performing arts field have an immense amount of resiliency, and we all understand the necessity for these changes. We are still working to dance, sing, create, write, and connect with one another as often as possible. We have time to plan for the future and return with fire and passion. Avenue Q said it best: Everything in life is only for now.
Follow Maggie on Instagram: @MaggieSpicerBrown