A group of friends belong to a local theater group. Some of the men and women write plays, others perform, exceptionally talented individuals do both. I do neither. I support my friends by buying tickets, sitting back, cradling my cup of joe or wine depending on the venue, and enjoying live performances.
Unfortunately in-person theater has not been an option since last winter, thanks to the coronavirus. But performers want to perform, writers want to see their work produced, and the rest of us want to view live shows.
The alternative in these strange times has become a virtual performance. Not necessarily full-scale productions, but an opportunity to see a show, or at least a piece of a production.
Hub and I looked forward to a Saturday evening out, sort of, in our own home. The local group performed five short plays on Facebook Live and Zoom. We were, of course, not the only ones home. The actors performed from their homes. The director narrated from his house. The playwrights, comfortably seated in their quarantine quarters, watched the actors from couches, large upholstered chairs, and work desks. I know because Zoom gives a peek into other folk’s home environment. It offers another source of entertainment while cloistered. I may not be interested in a class or newscast or whatever is offered, but I can log on for a short time and see what their kitchens or office or outdoor space looks like.
The audience viewed the performance from homes around the country (I don’t think anyone tuned in from outside the States, but I don’t know that for sure). Hub and I sat at our kitchen counter. Wine and dinner replenished us as we watched the five plays. Local work offers an interesting array of the very good to abysmally poor, but that is part of the fun.
What was missing was an opportunity before the show to greet others in the audience, wish the performers luck (or break a leg, or whatever), and afterwards congratulate playwrights and actors. In person. Also the players and playwrights received no immediate feedback. No laughing when there should be (or not), no applause during or after a play, no faces to read – are people bored? Enjoying the show? Hate it? Love it?
On the other hand, an advantage of virtual viewing is that if you have to go potty or don’t like a play or want more wine you can sneak off for a few minutes…
But I look forward to live theater experiences soon, whenever that may be.