2021 Given Circumstances: Who What Where When Why
by John Blondell
For the past dozen and a half months, theatre tried to go on without its most important component – The Audience. Artists and companies filmed, streamed, broadcast, recorded, and digitized. They’ve tried; they’ve done amazing things, developed groundbreaking and interesting work, and they should be applauded for it. They fought the good fight, but there was no way they could win the race.
As audiences watched great reckonings in little [networked] rooms, in the little rooms, they responded the best way they could – they showed up, they played along, they watched, they came. But there was little they could do. They couldn’t feel the breath of an actor, or the elbow of the person sitting nearby, or the sound of a room as it swelled and roared and quieted and fell.
If nothing else, Covid proved what we all know and all talk about: theatre doesn’t exist without an audience, and though that is perhaps both commonplace and truism, it is also a fact. It is a fact of life – perhaps, one of life’s few. For all of us, the period of confinement has made us long to be in rooms together, where shared breaths fuse to form crazy combinations of connection, conflagration, and – yes, at times – even confusion.
The theatre needs you. We need you. We need each other. We’re lovers, actually, and like the best of lovers, we admire, we relish, we fill in the others’ spaces. It’s impossible to let the other go.
The VSFF understands that the audience is lifeblood, source, and ignition. We share, we dote, we stare. We bring each other flowers. We care. We know we don’t exist without the other. Now, we’re ready, or at least almost – ready to feel the breath, to pass the time, to wake up, to stay up, and if we’re lucky, to hear the chimes at midnight.
We’re happy you are here. We crave your feedback, your ideas, your thoughts, and your musings about what you see, what you feel, and what just happened.