Recently, the performing arts have been hit hard. Live theater has gone dark, until further notice. We are feeling all sorts of emotions about it. Mostly we are all still grieving.
Some day we will be in front of live audiences again, I am sure of it, but in the meantime we must fight these feelings of isolation or die. It is that serious.
If an artist stops expressing themselves, it’s like they have lost the will to live.
The stakes have never been higher. You must find a way, any way, of expressing yourself. You must create for your well-being.
This is non-negotiable.
For actors and improvisers, it seems like the only option is doing stuff on Zoom. I’ve become an expert on it, and I’m well aware of its limitations for live performances.
I am not going to try to convince you that it’s a substitute for a 100-seat black box theater. It is not, but right now it’s all we have.
I was skeptical about teaching improv on Zoom, but it’s worked out pretty well. I am constantly learning, forever grateful that I often still get a “performance high” from teaching, like I do from a teaching a live class or performing in a show.
If acting or improvising on Zoom does not work for you, that’s fine. Then pick something else to express yourself. Write a song, do watercolors, take pictures with your phone. It doesn’t matter what you pick, as long as you are enjoying it.
I know I feel better when I write this blog, color with my daughter, or call my improv friends and do bits on the phone.
Art does not happen in vacuum and neither does life. We need people in both areas of our lives – our regular lives and our artistic lives. At this point, you may be discouraged and may not feel very productive in your art, but that doesn’t matter. If you try new things, you may look back at this pandemic as your Renaissance Period.
And just think, if you have tried lots of new creative endeavors, when you return to doing a live play or an improv show, how many more things you will be able to draw from? Right now, more than ever, doing something creative is not about the results, and that can be incredibly freeing. Think of this as an opportunity to create something just for yourself. For your sanity. For your mental health.
You may not know this, but artists are healers, and every time we create art, we have a chance to heal someone else. And sometimes, that person is us.