I was in Phelps when President Scogin’s famous email was sent last Wednesday night. First, a collective gasp. Next––cheering! And then I think reality began to set in for everyone. Complaints were heard, hugs were being given and Phelps began to clear out quickly. I took the opportunity to go home as soon as I could and reassess once I was back in my small town, Indiana home.
My two hour drive south that night gave me a lot of time to think. I wouldn’t be able to shoot for a short film I was cast in. What would Hope College’s upcoming production of “Twelfth Night” do? What about the Senior Show for Hope’s visual artists on April 3? Artists around the world are in quite the unique predicament right now. Freelance and organizational artists alike are going through the struggle between choosing health over art. In a very “Hamlet” way, they’re asking, “To art, or not to art?”
Multiple big Hollywood releases have been delayed due to the pandemic. Writer and director of “A Quiet Place Part II” John Krasinski said, “As insanely excited as we all are for you to see this movie, I’m going to wait to release the film until we can all see it together. So here’s to our group movie date. See you soon!” While this is a logical move since more and more people are unable to go to the movie theatres, it is projected that the industry could lose an estimated $2 billion. “Mulan,” “Fast 9,” and “The New Mutants” are among some other big names following suit and delaying their releases as well.
On March 12, Broadway went completely dark, thinking it the best decision regarding public safety. They plan to reopen with a flourish the week of April 13, just like Hope. While this is the safest decision, it can be incredibly heartbreaking. For example, Broadway’s current hit “Beetlejuice” is set to close on July 6. These performers, technicians, musicians, and other workers on the project are suddenly one month closer to leaving this show behind. “Girl from the North Country” just began official performances on Broadway on March 5. Shutting a new show down this quickly can kill interest for it and cause possible audience members to forget it even exists, come April.
On a more local level, my family gifted my sister and her boyfriend tickets to see a touring production of “The Lion King.” He had never seen a Broadway show and always dreamed of getting to see one. However, the South Bend Morris Performing Arts Center where they were planning to see it has cancelled all upcoming performances. My alma mater, Plymouth High School, was premiering their spring play today, March 17, but has been forced to cancel their performances due to the school corporation closing until March 30. They plan to reschedule if they can. We were lucky enough to see my little sister’s 5th and 6th grade production on March 12th before school closings hit our area.
I’m a theatre minor currently enrolled in an acting class. For class, we plan to video chat as a class on Google Hangouts, mute our sounds, and one by one unmute and perform our monologues. Knowing my hectic house, there will most likely be some dog barks and yells from rambunctious kids in the background. Not only that, but living out in the middle of nowhere gives me a tasteful amount of bad WiFi.
As far as Hope’s “Twelfth Night” (which I am lucky to be a part of), we are unsure of what the future may hold. Because the production’s director is a guest from Seattle, we are toying with the idea of holding virtual rehearsals alongside our online curriculum. The weekend of April 13 was scheduled to be the production’s opening weekend, but we plan now to move it to the following weekend. This is all dependent on the notion that live audiences will be safe. It is just groundwork. The actual future of the show is still completely up in the air. For now, we just watch the world and hope for the best.
As an artist myself, coming home with close to nothing to do, I’ve been very restless. I’ve been playing guitar, painting, writing, anything I can do to feel a little useful. I am most certainly the go-go-go type, and am terribly prone to feeling guilty for “not being productive enough.” Going from a busy schedule from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. to just about nothing much to do has been very difficult for me. However, there are good things coming out of this.
I now have some extra time to take better care of myself––workout (more) consistently, indulge in personal projects and get a little bit of a better sleep schedule in my system. Due to the other colleges in the area cancelling, I’ve been reunited with my best friend after months of texting and calling. Luckily I got to see her a bit before self-quarantine requirements have really set in. It’s been a little strange being home, but at least I get to soak in the family time I was missing throughout this semester. The weather is 45º and sunny––what more could I ask for? (Except maybe that 45º to be bumped up to 60º!)
While it’s all been a little hectic not quite knowing what’s going on, there are plenty of good things that are coming out of this. As pictured, I recently saw a happy little hot air balloon gliding through the air of my town. It’s a beautiful example of people making the best out of a difficult situation. I urge you to look for the good things, the small things that make you happy––especially those that involve staying in. Continue to stay educated on what’s going on out there, but try to make the best out of this strange situation we’re in. If social media is how you are staying up to date, give yourself multiple breaks throughout the day to reduce possible anxiety and fear. Summon your mightiest bout of patience with one another, and remember to pray for all those dealing with the negative repercussions of this. We got this, Hope College.
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