No one knows when the theaters will reopen, when actors will be able to rehearse in safety or when audiences will feel confident that attending a show won’t kill them. It could be months away. It could be more than a year. One thing that’s certain is that theater will return. Man, Aristotle observed in “Poetics,” is an imitative animal. We learn through mimicry, a form of acting, and through enactment, the basis of drama. The stage isn’t simply a leisure time extravagance. It springs directly from that reflective consciousness that distinguishes human nature.
But while no virus can defeat this art form, the theater will have to change to meet the challenges of a transformed world. While we’re mourning the loss of playgoing among the myriad other losses exacted by this pandemic, I’ve asked artists to imagine the future. How might we rethink basic structures (economic, architectural, aesthetic) in this period of forced reprieve? How might fresh vision transform crisis into opportunity?
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