COVID-19 is not an event the world anticipated. It has blown into a global crisis so fast that it has managed to put on hold livelihoods from numerous industries. Performing Arts is one of them. Fortunately, some organizations have banded together in support of their community as well as in support of the true heroes. However, those efforts are not the topic at the moment. The discussion on the table is simply how the Performing Arts, particularly the theatre arts, is thriving during the New Normal.
The beauty of technological advancements, especially in the modern world, is that it connects a society that has less time and fewer resources to what is around them. Couple this with the fact that the majority of the world’s population is in lockdown (meaning, more time to allot with little to no financial resources needed to do so), the end-goal of keeping each one tethered is certainly being achieved. This is certainly true for the likes of YouTube, Vimeo, and similarly designed websites. Especially when these platforms have become the new “stage”, nowadays. This is, perhaps, a silver lining to the problem the entire world is facing.
Theatre productions have begun to expand to wider platforms, despite the limitation in time. Their motion for expansion and exclusivity opens the eyes and minds of many to the wonders of the culminated artform that is theatre. This movement also introduces true professional talents from all walks-of-life to others who usually prefer another set of idols. This can result in potentially widening the taste for artistry.
Having an online setup is also the opportunity for enthusiasts to catch-up with what they may have missed over the years. Truth be told, not everyone is blessed enough to experience a production whenever one is held. For example, tickets can be too expensive and transportation may be costly as well. Some people just cannot shoulder those; regardless of being patrons of the arts.
Beyond all else, however, having theatrical shows that are easily seen by people allow education on relevant matters. Whether the message is on kindness, morality, or simply show of support. Consequently, this opens the floor for learning and discussion – something quite significant for any theatre practitioner. Of course, without proper guidance, this may cause some negative outcomes as well. However, that is for a separate time to tell.
Theatre-goers of the New Normal are lucky – to say the very least – to be able to watch renowned productions ranging from the international scale to their local contenders. With a click of a link, their eyes can easily bear witness to what most could only dream of watching. Unfortunately, a privilege like this can only be enjoyed insofar as simply watching and hearing.
It is not bad, per se. While these limited-time streams are something a vast majority should be appreciative of, witnessing the magnificence of a theatre piece on-screen pales in comparison to seeing it on-stage in real life. Theatre is also a celebration of senses. With that said, the experience is still quite incomplete without experiencing the art form first-hand. After this quarantine season and once it is safe enough – and productions take to stage once more – hopefully, there will be more support for the theatre arts. God willing, these streams pave the way to that.