To quote the immortal lyrics of Queen,
The show must go on
The show must go on
Inside my heart is breaking
My makeup may be flaking
But my smile still stays on...
The world of theater is asking itself “Can the show go on?”
Companies and theater troupes across the world haven’t been able to put on live in-person productions since mid-March. Many, like our local MTVarts and The Alcove Dinner Theater, postponed or canceled their entire 2020 season. Plans to reopen in spring 2021 are tentative at best. While certain restrictions can be worked around for live music and outdoor events, can we still, with these restrictions, do our part to open up live theater soon?
Live theater is an art form that requires a personal intimacy from both the actors and the audience. It’s to tell the story. How can we tell the story in a world where we social distance wearing face coverings? When theater reopens it might be a little different, but it will come back, because it speaks to the human condition and society will need it. I'm optimistic to see how we're going to adapt to this strange “next normal.”
Helping us adapt is the Knox County community, known for its generosity and for pulling together in times of crisis. That spirit has never been more present than during this unprecedented and challenging time.
As we take steps to protect our physical health, the importance of the arts and culture to our social, economic and community health is clear. The artists, creative workers and cultural curators of our town are stepping up to heal, connect and give meaning to our lives. We look forward to the stories theater will tell in the future about this unique time in our history.
One of the most promising developments during the pandemic is the Mount Vernon Arts Consortium. Bringing together Knox Memorial Theater, Ariel-Foundation Park and The Woodward Opera House. Its mission is “to ensure high-quality entertainment, educational and visitor experiences are presented at key arts-related community assets in Mount Vernon, Ohio.”
We at MTVarts remain committed to quality, creativity, and affordability in 2021 and beyond. We are excited about the new arts consortium and where we are working closely with each other and the possibility of seeking ways to serve and connect both to one another and to our community.
Bruce Jacklin is the artistic director for MTVarts in Mount Vernon, Ohio.