This is a very old idea, familiar for people inside and outside the theatre.
During what would have been the last week of our 2020 Season at Two Planks and a Passion, I have been meeting virtually with colleagues across Canada, listening to and participating in conversations about our future.
So much has to change- including this traditional and dangerous idea of proceeding with a performance at all costs.
What kind of life do we want to lead? What do we want the world to look like in the future? Without answers to these questions, what does our theatre mean?
A while ago I asked colleagues to share with me how they felt about heading back to rehearsals. The private messages I received are very different from the public ones posted to my question. Colleagues are distressed, feeling pressured, exhausted, and questioning what the point of it all is. I feel like we all need to amplify these private messages somehow. The fact that people don’t feel comfortable sharing these thoughts publicly is a problem in and of itself. The fact that we may not be caring for our artists the way we should be is a potential catastrophe.
We are, I think, doing our best as theatre artist to support each other. But in a rush to “get back to normal” we run the risk of missing an essential opportunity to do things differently. What about these things:
“Your family and loved ones come first”.
“Your mental health matters”.
“It’s just a play”.
The next time someone suggests “The show must go on”, consider if that should ever be true.
Let’s build something better.