Online Theatre Festival
THEATRE IN THE COVID-19 AGE
Everybody’s life changed when COVID-19 hit earlier this year. Our Online Theatre Festival began as a response to that crisis. Or rather, in response to many internal crises we as theatre artists are feeling at this time. Theatre companies from Broadway to Cedar City have shut down with no promise of returning anytime soon (and for good reason). It would be easy to get caught up in the dispair of all that, and many of us have. I am grateful for a community of optimistic collaborators at OTF who looked this monstrous problem in the face and said defiantly “we can still make art!” We present these four plays to you in hopes that you might find some joy. We hope to make you laugh! I personally have found great comfort in finding new ways to connect with art, and to connect with fellow artists. In order to avoid contracting and spreading disease, every meeting, rehearsal, and performance was done via video messaging! COVID has forced us to reevaluate what is possible, and how we can use the technology of our times to solve the problems of our times.
We at OTF are so grateful for those who make, share, and consume art with us at a safe distance. Our love and our laughter go to all those who struggle in these difficult times.
Most people don’t understand the significance of theatre and the arts when it comes to times like this. We put our faith in weapons and violence, which we believe will deliver us from pain and injustice. When really the strongest weapon we can invest in is our voice. Our stories. Our shared experiences. Theatre is a laboratory from which we can learn about ourselves through others experiences. Has theatre done enough to elevate all of those voices? No. It’s failed. But that doesn’t mean we should give up and never strive to tell stories of those who have been marginalized because of the color of their skin. We, as artists NEED to seek out those stories and bring them to life. How can we as a society get back to “normal” if there was no normal to begin with. Our stories are incomplete without our black brothers and sisters. I myself have failed and I will strive to do better. Covid-19 was the cultural reset that allowed for the Black Lives Matter movement to gain momentum. Let us build a better world using the greatest resource available to us. Our voice!
Art is like a staple, like bread or wine or a warm winter coat in winter. Man’s spirit grows hungry for art in the same way his stomach for food.” Irving Stone
2020 may be the most stressful, unpredictable, chaotic year that most of us have experienced up to this point in our lives. A global pandemic, massive job losses and unemployment, and protests against police brutality across the country have been the reality of the past 6 months. Life is very uncertain right now.
Art has always been a relief in times of distress. Americans looked to the movies during World War II, enjoying technicolor musicals as a brief getaway and distraction, and heart-wrenching dramas as a reflection of their reality and a form of catharsis. The 1960s and 70s saw a huge artistic surge across all mediums- visual art, film, theatre, music, dance, and more, as a response to the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Rights Movement, and the Gay Liberation Movement. The Arts are not only a way to soothe the pain and troubles we experience in our lives, but also a way to raise awareness and comment on that pain.
We need art more than ever right now. Digital paintings, at-home concerts, socially-distanced sing-alongs, and online Netflix watch-parties are just some of the ways people around the world have been creating and sharing art through this troubling time. With Broadway being closed until at least 2021, most theatres around the country being shut down, and film productions on hold, we wanted to bring you a little taste of those experiences that you can enjoy at home. While we know our productions can’t change all of the horrible and scary things going on in the world, we hope that they can bring a little laughter, happiness, and joy to your lives. Thank you for letting us share this with you.
- The Online Theatre Festival Artistic Staff