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Student Blog: Can Theatre Be Back?


As I see theaters reopen, I'm starting to become hopeful that there could be a way forward for live performances.

Student Blog: Can Theatre Be Back?

In March 2020, I worked on my school's production of Head Over Heels. We only ran for one weekend, which was fortunate, because the week after our show, school shut down, and classes went fully online. Through COVID, I've been lucky enough to see some pretty great outdoor performances (I recently wrote about seeing Joe Iconis and Lauren Marcus at Two River Theater). However, since that production of Head Over Heels I have not set foot in a theater to see a live performance of a play or musical. Until this weekend.

For years, my mother and I have volunteered as ushers at a local theatre. I know some of the folks who perform there, and it's a great way to see their shows for free. As soon as I stepped into the theatre, a surreal feeling washed over me. Standing in an actual brick and mortar theater was overwhelming. As I showed patrons to their (socially distanced) seats, I got more and more excited.

"Is it okay to cry now that theatre is back?" one audience member joked to me. I laughed and assured her that I would be doing the same.

When the lights went down, I was in awe. The (incredibly talented) performers on stage could have been reading the phone book, and I would have been just as emotional. To see actors on a stage was incredible enough, but what made it even better was the people around me. The act of gathering as a community is at the very core of what theatre is to me. To be part of a group joined together to see theatre, to laugh, to cry, to react, was magical. It is magic we've been deprived of for a very long time.

After the audience exited the theater, it was our time to clean. As I wiped down each seat, I was filled with hope. Hope that maybe, if we're careful enough, and if we put precautions in place, we could hold onto live theater. I'm encouraged by the COVID protocols I've seen (vaccination requirements, masks when not in your seat, spacing out the audience etc.) and I hope more and more theaters and performance spaces will follow suit. Theater (like everything else in the world), is fragile right now. We're in unknown territory. It would be a shame to lose theatre again, especially after such a long year and a half. Theatre can bring so much joy, and I can only hope that spark never goes out again.

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From This Author Student Blogger: Michael Scuotto