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Joel Reflects on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Theatre will endure.
This Sunday, May 10th, we were to open our production of Indecent, by Paula Vogel, at
the CAA Theatre. Instead, our artists and audiences will be at home and the theatre will
sit dark and empty. I would like to share how this experience has been for me
personally, and how Studio 180 Theatre will respond.
I first saw Indecent during its run on Broadway. For days afterward, I couldn’t get the play out of my head. The overriding theme was the endurance of art — theatre in particular — Vogel’s passion insisted that no matter how one tries to edit, censor or destroy art, there is no way to eradicate it.
Indecent is about theatre. About artists who toil for the purpose of connecting with an audience. It is unapologetically not commercial and is unlike anything I’ve experienced in Toronto. The play’s blend of storytelling with music and dance is hypnotic at the same time as it is piercingly current.
The decision to close the production just days before rehearsals were to begin left me feeling numb. The inevitability of what was happening ate at me, knowing it was coming and recognizing that there was no way to stop it. I worried about our actors, musicians, designers, stage managers, office staff and many other company members. I thought about the set that was completed and the spectacular rain effect that I’d seen and approved just a few days earlier.
And then the big question: will Studio 180 survive this emotional and financial turmoil?
Followed by the bigger answer: We will. We are determined to. We refuse to allow this crisis to defeat us.
Right now, the most important thing is that we stay connected in every way we can. On Tuesday, May 5, we’re launching a new, free online initiative to help us stay connected to theatre and to each other.
Theatre affirms community. Affirms our capacity to share, to feel, to open our hearts and minds without qualification. This is what leads to catharsis — the theatre’s greatest strength — a sublime experience that is as close as we get to transforming our pain, doubts and fears into positive action.
The COVID-19 pandemic isolated us. I strongly believe that theatre will reconnect us, and help us heal.
I look forward to once again being with you, sharing our work, hearing the sounds of laughter and voices raised in conversation after the show.
Wishing you all well,
Please consider joining our RECONNECT Campaign by making a donation today. With your gift, you will be helping Studio 180 weather the current crisis, and supporting our artistic, outreach and educational programming in our 2020/21 Season.
Photos: (top) RECONNECT Campaign Graphic, (left) photo of Joel Greenberg.