Vol. 13, No. 13 – Mar 25 – Apr 7, 2020 – A View from House Seats

by Shirley Lorraine

County theaters suffer another loss – You!

Entertainment has reached crisis point as a result of the current health situation unprecedented in our lifetime (mine anyway). Broadway theaters are closed. Las Vegas is shutting down. Ventura County theaters are shuttering up. Now there are just empty seats in dark theaters. A great loss to patrons of Ventura County theatres is the recent closure of all the stage performances whether they were in progress or about to open.

I understand some auditions may still be held for future productions so there is hope for the future. But for now, theaters who were already struggling, appear to be in for a very hard time indeed. Just as with our homes and businesses, rent and utilities still must be paid. Most of our county theaters rely on paying audiences to do just that on a monthly basis.

One thing I have always loved about live theater (there are many) is that I never have to wonder if I will be able to “connect” -no Wi-Fi needed. I can be involved without truly being involved (that is, first having succeeded at being cast, learning the script, rehearsing for weeks, taking direction, tech week, personality clashes, giving up all weekends for several months and more). With so many staying home, out of school, working from home, or ill, internet lines are overloading, TV streaming is spotty and me randomly blurting out lines or songs from shows in my living room just isn’t the same as watching a fine live performance. Just ask anybody in my house.

Theater people are extraordinarily resilient. They live to entertain, and they will be ready and eager to come back when the air clears. The bigger question is, will the theaters be financially able to re-open?

In the meantime, there seems to be plenty of time to hone one’s skills, or perhaps take up new ones. Always wanted to write a play? Make a costume? Experiment with stage makeup? Build a stage prop? Now is a great time to get started. When theaters do reopen, you will be ready.

Kids could act out a part of their day for the rest of the family. It could be a group project. It can be re-living a funny situation or a testy one. There are plays about both. Who knows – it might even open an actual conversation!

I think I’ll go start writing something now myself. Who knows? Could be a whole new career track. Perhaps it will be about my adventures in the theater. There are no shortage of stories!

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