Company Member Spotlight Series
#3 Amy Zidell 5/8/20
#2 Richard Perloff 3/30/20
Theatre in the Time of Coronavirus
It’s an unusual time to be a theatre artist, for obvious reasons. Whatever else theatre might be, it’s a communal experience, and that’s exactly the sort of thing we can’t be doing these days.
We’re a community, those of us who participate in the theatre, and there is some comfort in knowing that our plight is shared by thousands of our fellow actors, directors, designers, and technicians out there. We’re all sidelined until further notice.
I’m lucky. I have a “day job” that pays the bills. Many theatre artists are not so fortunate, and they’re struggling, as are millions of others; we’re all of us living day-to-day, and contemplating an uncertain future.
Strangest of all, the pandemic closed the show in which I was performing, Dead Man’s Cell Phone. We made it about halfway through the scheduled run of the show, and then we had to shut it down. It was unfortunate, certainly, but it was the right thing to do.
Was I sad about the shortened run? Yes…and no. And here’s what I mean by that:
Sure, I’m sorry that I couldn’t do the final handful of performances. Whatever actors and directors do in rehearsal, it’s not until a show has an audience that an actor truly begins to understand how the thing works. In that sense, I feel a loss, because I was learning more about the play (and my character) every time out. And certainly I’m sorry for the folks who wanted to see the production, and never got the opportunity, including some friends and fellow company members at Little Fish Theatre.
But…we did the work. And that’s indelible. We met, this estimable collection of performers and designers, and our director, Branda Lock, set a phenomenally high bar for us. She then proceeded, rehearsal by rehearsal, to challenge us to clear it. I’m a better actor for having rehearsed this show, and I’m pretty sure my cast mates would say the same. We got the thing to opening, and we got two weekends’ worth of the opportunity to share the production with LFT audiences.
It wasn’t enough…but it has to be enough.
Theatre, at its best, mirrors the world at large. And much of that world has shut down for the time being. We’re not exempt.
We’ll be back.
#1 Shirley Hatton – 3/31/20
Being an artist during the Corona Virus
Life has changed so rapidly these last few weeks that my head is still trying to sort it all out. Three weeks ago I was in the middle of our run for the play “Deadman’s Cell Phone” at LFT. It was a multi-layered, complex, funny and surreal play and after two weeks of performances I just felt like I was starting to get a grasp on my character and have the confidence to really explore deeper without having to focus as much on lines and blocking. I was deeply disappointed that the show was postponed—though I understood why. As we are having to physically distance ourselves, I feel like theatre and the human connections we make with theatre are even more important. Laughing together, sharing sorrow and exploring other’s life journeys—these are what make theatre so compelling. I, selfishly, am saddened that more people did not get to see this truly magnificent production. I miss my theatre friends—the gossip, the sharing and the laughter. I miss the adrenaline rush I get before going on stage each time, knowing that each performance will be unique, because you never know what will happen—dropped lines, a set piece that won’t cooperate, a zipper breaking just before you go on stage. I love the challenge, camaraderie and joy that theatre brings to me. I think about our set and all of our costumes and props, waiting like ghosts, for us to return to the theatre and bring them to life again.
So now what do I do while I quarantine at home? Many of the usual things—read, waste time on the internet, watch TV with my family, play games, go for walks. I sing to my dogs to keep those performing juices flowing (and I don’t feel they really appreciate the cleverness of my rhymes! They are a lackluster audience). I spend a lot of time in my garden watching the birds and flowers and squirrels—and I take lots of pictures of them to bore people with on Instagram. I am a fiber artist, so I am spending time making books and quilts and sewing. I belong to several artist groups on-line and do monthly challenges with them to push myself as an artist. I’ve always been a big believer that boredom can actually act as a spur to creativity, so I am hoping that after the concept of quarantining truly sinks in and I stop freaking out so much, that I will have a surge of energy and create some amazing things. Maybe I will try some new techniques and ideas that I have never had time for before – or maybe I will resort to making costumes for my dogs from famous plays and dress them up –I just don’t know. Most of all I am trying to stay positive and connected to friends and family. Feeling like you live inside an apocalyptic novel is unsettling to say the least.
Community Member Spotlight
#3 Grand Vision Foundation / Grand Annex- Liz Schindler Johnson
“My heart really goes out to the all the musicians and other professional artists and actors who have seen their livelihoods just evaporate in the last little while…”
Liz Schindler Johnson, April 24, 2020
#2 – The Whale and Ale – Andrew Silber
I am sorry, really, to keep changing plans for re-opening The Whale & Ale.
Over the last 36 hours I have been pondering: ‘Is re-opening right now, today, for pick-up the best decision?’ My decision is to wait another week, maybe more before we start selling again, – and to review that decision daily.
How that decision was arrived at:
- Restaurant would again be a going concern & not shuttered.
- Business is kept alive in the minds of locals, ready for when it goes ‘back to normal’.
- Some revenue comes in.
- Some staff, (maybe 30 to 40%), want to get back to work and earn money.
- I want to get my life back to ‘normal’ or, sort-of, at least closer to it.
- Is this an essential business?
Can it be compared to the necessity of a pharmacy or a gas station?
- Can I keep staff and their families, roommates, significant others safe from infection?
- Can we all wash our hands enough, wear masks at work, wear gloves at work (& co-ordinate that with handwashing), handle to-go boxes, bags & credit cards, cash without risking spreading infection?
- Will we be a danger to the customers and their families?
- Demand will be low for pick-up/postmates orders, probably.
- Staff unemployment claims/disability will be reduced or eliminated by earnings.
Andrew Silber, April 10, 2020
#1 Compagnon Wine Bistro
Loni Compagnon, April 8, 2020
Classes with Company Artists
Grab your Guitar – SHMRF Songwriting Tips with Doug Mattingly!
Lucia Cooks Banana Bread – Little Fish Theatre Company Artist Lucia Lopes shares her comforting treat in this time of shelter-in-place in Los Angeles.
Lucia Cooks Quiche