There’s something about live theatre…
There’s something about live theatre…

There’s something about live theatre…

My hus­band Matt is a guest on a pod­cast! I talk a lot about how one of the indus­tries that’s been hit really hard by Cov­id is the live event industry. So long as it makes more sense for people to not gath­er in large groups, live events are going to be a chal­lenge. On the one hand I think, come on, if we can allow people to fly in planes, then surely we as cre­at­ive people can come up with ways to make theatre and con­certs hap­pen. And we’ve seen it, like with the Indigo Girls con­cert from a drive-in movie place in Atlanta, so the audi­ence was in their cars, or sit­ting just out­side their car, and we were sit­ting in our base­ment watch­ing it on our TV.

On the oth­er hand, we are see­ing num­bers of Cov­id cases soar­ing, and much as it hurts me in my heart, I need to agree that now is not the time for live events to get up and run­ning again.

Unfor­tu­nately this means that thou­sands of people are out of work, coz remem­ber we aren’t just talk­ing about per­formers, we’re talk­ing about box office staff, ush­ers, con­ces­sion work­ers, equip­ment rent­al com­pan­ies, cos­tumers, and on and on and on. And Matt has a roster of over 500 cas­u­al employ­ees who are the tech­ni­cians who load in and set up shows, and take them out again. That’s just here in Van­couver. There are hun­dreds more in all the oth­er centres, big and small, across the con­tin­ents. So this is a huge deal.

Our col­league, Jay Swing, star­ted a pod­cast called Swing’s Soap­box, to talk to industry pro­fes­sion­als about all this stuff, and Matt was a guest on it recently.

I got to think­ing about why live events, live theatre live con­certs, are so import­ant. Matt and Swing talk a bit about this too. I’ve men­tioned before about read­ing my work aloud to you, and how odd it feels to not have that instant audi­ence reac­tion, so that’s how I feel as a per­former. But what about the audi­ence? What is it about see­ing a con­cert, see­ing our favour­ite musi­cians live, even if they’re so far away we’re spend­ing a lot of time look­ing at the big screen. What is it about see­ing that per­son whose work we love live and in per­son, when we could just sit at home and listen to a record­ing? There’s some­thing about the energy when you see a live per­former. Some­thing about the pos­sib­il­ity of imper­fec­tion of live music that makes it real. Of know­ing that that voice I’m hear­ing is com­ing from THAT per­son RIGHT THERE, who is amaz­ing and one of my favour­ite artists.

Why is it import­ant to gath­er and exper­i­ence these things togeth­er? Live theatre. Put your hand up if you’ve nev­er been to a play. I don’t just mean Broad­way, or these big shows that fill enorm­ous ven­ues, small intim­ate theatre spaces too. If you put your hand up I heart­ily encour­age you to rec­ti­fy that the moment the world opens up and it’s pos­sible. Because there is just some­thing about that shared emo­tion­al exper­i­ence, see­ing those act­ors on that stage RIGHT THERE, that is so power­ful. And see­ing it with a room full of oth­er people. I don’t know about you but if I’m alone, I don’t find funny things funny, or sad things sad. Not to the same degree. Dirk Van Stralen talked about this in Chats With Cool Folk #2, about see­ing Julia Mack­ey’s play Jake’s Gift over and over and over, and yet because he is in a theatre where oth­er people are cry­ing, he cries. Even though he dir­ec­ted, and they have been tour­ing the show for years, with count­less performances.

I miss it. I miss live theatre, I miss live con­certs. And all the people whose live­li­hoods rely on the, miss live events, too.

Any­way, check out Swing’s Soapbox.