It is Brelby tradition to dedicate the month of November to giving a platform for our artists to share their stories. This month our annual Blogathon theme is “Shifting Perspectives”. We’ve spent a large portion of 2020 with our stage dark, but that doesn’t mean that our artists haven’t been growing, changing and creating. This year we asked them, “How has the pandemic impacted your perspective on theatre, the arts, and life? What are your hopes for the future of theatre?”
Enjoy this year’s series.
TD’RL: I didn’t realize the unbreakable bond between an artist and its creation; not only did I desperately need theatre but it so happened to desperately need me?
I woke up on March 16th and found myself un-fabulously and entirely unemployed. A young struggling artist cliche sobbing at the sights of a dark Broadway, a troubling unknown, and the word “epicenter” plastered on every news article associated with New York’s doom. As one of the only artists in my apartment, the reality was troubling beyond the inability to predict “what does this mean for theatre?”, there was also this question of shame. Should I rethink my lifestyle of pursuing an artist’s world of unpredictability and sacrifice? It was declared that my serving
job, my consent educator title, and a potential international grad student plan may all be jeopardized for who knew how long. Like so many, I started to sink into the well-known rabbit hole: “am I really anything if I’m not pursuing SOMETHING in my toolbox?”
As weeks turned into months turned into… more months, I started wrestling with an inner voice telling me to rethink my determined life plan. Before the pandemic, I decided to stop pursuing a career in commercialized acting and devote my time and conviction to the world of Applied Theatre. Though this was out of love for the work, I slowly realized from March-April this was more due to a subconscious aura of defeat. Surrender to my own declare of being unfit for the real acting world; I had the talent, just not the “chops” to walk into a room filled with six hundred actors and feel as if I deserved to be seen. This was not the first time this feeling hit the
stomach, but I knew it had to be the last. With the world feeling grim and endful, it really was time to just forego the ego, and listen to my inner child. Oddly enough, the opportunity for me to act via Zoom was in my email inbox right and left. I didn’t realize the unbreakable bond between
an artist and its creation; not only did I need desperately need theatre but it so happened to desperately need me? The aching for creation took precedent over the preestablished, theatre artist academia bullshit of “but if it’s not professional, am I really working?” Maybe not, maybe some could claim I just was being cute and “pretending to work” for three or four months. Or maybe for the first time, I actually embraced being an artist, because I really didn’t care. I just needed to fly.
If there is anything this pandemic taught me it’s that though life (warning: cliche ahead) is ever unknown, theatre finds it’s way to accommodate. More significantly, artists are the backbone of empathy, collaboration, and makin’ it work. Though quarantine was dramatic, I see actors and talent alike coming together more than they ever have, forming a community based on love and love alone. And that, more than any equity card can buy, is ownership of one’s work enough.