BWW Interview: GOING DARK, Part 19 - Caleb Barnett
Not only did COVID-19 cancellations affect performing arts students in their university performances, but many Summer Stock productions were cancelled too. University students often rely on Summer shows for resume building and learning experiences, as well as a chance to get some professional experience during or just after college. A double-blow came down when COVID-19 caused cancellation after cancellation, leaving the theatre world indefinitely dark and students without any outlet for honing and showcasing their skills.
GOING DARK is an exclusive interview series with those out-of-work artists, who, like everyone, are waiting out an unprecedented time for their careers and the world. Part 19 features UCO Musical Theatre student Caleb Barnett.
This is GOING DARK.
BWW: How are you handling the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with all of the cancellations and postponements during the pandemic?
CB: Um.....difficult is the word I'd use. Everything happened so unbelievably fast that it was hard to process and take in what was happening around me and in the industry. Now that we're further along in quarantine and are starting to see the curve very slowly but surely flatten, I am proud of what the theatre community chose to do. But I'm not gonna lie... I will say that I was super bummed about the decision that had to be made.
BWW: What did you plan on working on that has been put on hold? Do you plan to continue working on those projects after the pandemic passes?
CB: I had planned on being a part of the ensemble of A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder at Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, but unfortunately that production was cancelled a couple of weeks before we were supposed to begin rehearsals. That one was upsetting because it was a production I was REALLY looking forward to. I would've had the opportunity to work with three people that I look up to the most (Donald Jordan, Jonathan Beck Reed, and Amy Reynolds-Reed) and I just KNOW I would've learned so much! CityRep has felt like home since UCO's co-production of Hair with CityRep so it was really sad. On a slightly brighter note, I'm a part of Lyric's production of Kinky Boots and since Lyric's season got postponed, it's nice to know that I have that waiting for me next summer.
BWW: What are you doing to take care of yourself right now? Is anything in particular bringing you a sense of peace?
CB: Right now, I'm finishing up my sophomore year of college. Finishing the semester online has been a huge challenge. So I've been sure to take time to myself any time that I feel overwhelmed with the increased workload. One of the things bringing me peace and keeping me sane right now is the Zoom calls I make with my friends. Sometimes we'll get on Zoom for like 4 hours. I bought an advanced version, that way we have unlimited time to talk, and we'll rant or check up on each other. Sometimes we'll get on and play Jackbox games through Zoom. It truly calms me down. They're like my family.