“WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU / OTHER INFO YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- All shows running between now (Friday, March 13th) through March 26th have been canceled.“
As did many other artists, performers, improvisers, singers, and storytellers, I, too, received this message in my inbox. The remaining two dates of my show had been cancelled.
After our first show, my director, Jess, co-performer, Krissie, and I agreed that the show had turned out better than we imagined it could. At the second show, we were nearly sold out thanks to some help from friends and good word of mouth.
We had wonderful ideas for how we would continue to evolve the show for the 3rd and 4th performances. We had increasing numbers of commitments from friends and colleagues who were going to come. It felt like there was momentum, which was a new sensation for me.
For the most part, getting a show off the ground is a lot of heavy lifting. All of the art and marketing materials are made from scratch. The show itself is written from nothing. It feels like asking everyone you’ve ever met if they are interested in coming, again.
But here’s the funny thing: I didn’t feel that bothered by the fact that this happened. It’s not relief, per se, but I would describe it more as resolve.
I am not entitled to shows. No one is. Every performer big and small has been affected by this virus, so it seems silly to get upset that I am being affected by this the way that literally everyone else is.
Getting this email, to me, is a beautiful parallel to the writing advice, “Finish each writing session in the middle of a sentence. When you return, you will immediately jogged to complete the sentence, and then you will be on your way to more writing. If every session starts with a blank page, it is an intimidating practice.”
I have used that cheat many, many times when I have written things. And I will use this cheat in the context of my next performances. I was stopped in the middle of a sentence, so I know what words I intend to write next.
I can’t get on stage, but I can spend more time writing articles like this and other jokes, stories, and anecdotes that I can share on stage.
I can get more sleep.
I can watch other artists and be inspired by their work.
I did not write this to make light of the fact that many people, right now, are suffering from the loss of these opportunities. Stage hands, light technicians, sound designers, set builders etc.. Many people will need to fight their way out of this, and I want to support them in the best way that I can.
Right now, that might mean donating to the various funds around Chicago to support local artists. Here are a few links if you are interested.
In the long term, though, it means creating something that can help to bring in audiences, employ more people, and keep things going once we can all gather together again.
So that’s what I’ll do.