My attention was drawn to an Instagram post the other day of a beautiful sketch / painting of a red gown – a costume design for a character played on the stage. The post was made by an artist I follow, de Winton Paper Co. “What are we without the arts,” is a discussion around this post. Covid 19 has affected so many, and as posed by Harriet de Winton, “What do we have if we don’t have art and live performance?”
I have many good memories from high school and my year abroad of viewing performances that ranged from musical theatre, plays, orchestras, various concerts and the Opera. Even though I have never had the desire to preform, I would still feel the shivers and tingles over my body when the emotion or the thrill of the stage energy overtakes you. I swear everyone in the building feels the passion and the energy. It is indescribable, but you feel like anything is possible in life.
What do Theatre companies do without occupied seats for a performance? A few smaller theatres are shutting their doors for good. I wonder if some could do an art gallery style event? Depending on the layout of the building, ‘pieces of interest’ could be displayed that ticket holders could walk through and view as though in an art gallery. Some of these could be costume, or set design prints on display. Perhaps strategic areas in the theatre floor plan with appropriate lighting could accommodate performers that rotate through shifts for the duration of the event – a ballerina or two, a string trio or quartet, a monologue actor or actress on the stage itself (or small group of actors or actresses that work together). The performances and pieces on display could be themed from the history of the theatre. The key would be short performances that could be enjoyed while leisurely walking by. With ushers in black tie and face masks (or what may be suitable to tie into the event’s theme) and keep people moving through.
I am not in the performing art world by any stretch, so I am curious what innovative ideas are being brought forward or being implemented. I have heard a lot of performances are being attempted online or filmed with all aspects being brought together through technology and editing, and then donations encouraged. But there is nothing quite like viewing in person and witnessing the atmosphere and feeling the magic in the room.
Curious of your thoughts or if you have seen interesting ideas come up from this dilemma!