On the 15th of June, in theory, theatres should be allowed to open in Italy. It’s a big leap of faith as June is not exactly the best month to open doors…. at least for indoor theatres.
June is a month that marks the END of the theatre season for venues, not the beginning.
The good news is that, again on a purely theoretical basis, open air performances could be allowed. Indeed there is a strong possibilities that many city councils will organize some kind of summer events, just for the sake of reminding people that there is life outside of Netflix.
As a matter of fact as I was browsing Facebook (something I do rarely) yesterday my eye fell on a post. A theatre based in a small town of Lombardy published a call for shows to be performed in July in a public square.
The square will host a maximum of 99 audience members who will have to reserve days in advance in order to secure a place. And I’m not using the word place nonchalantly because I’m not at all sure they will be allowed to sit. They will all have to wear a mask that’s for sure.
Covid-19 is essentially doing to society what HIV did for sex and that’s the rub: social distancing and personal protection.
If you want to have casual sex with Marta (or Jennifer, or Samantha or even Peter depending on your taste) you’d better wear a condom.
Well… if you want to do theatre in this period you’d better have a show that complies with social distancing rules.
As I quickly browsed the provisions of the new ministerial decree here’s some of the main points that stood out…
1) Social distancing measures will have be enforced separating audience members from one another, from the stage where the actors perform and even the actors will need to enforce social distancing on the stage.
So we can tick the [allowed] box for stand up comedy, solo shows, and hermetic experimental Bulgarian theatre (whatever that is)
The [absolutely forbidden] box is instead ticked for dance, acrobatic circus of any kind (unless solo), musicals, etc.
2) All members of the performing company will have to wear masks upon entering inside the premises (if indoor), or in any case when setting up before the show, and make sure all necessary measures are taken to protect themselves and the workers around them (technicians, stage managers, etc.).
Yes. Sure… everyone is going to wear in July under a 40 degree-scorching sun, of course.
The list goes on and on but I’m not too sure it would be interesting unless you run a venue. It’s a list of things venue managers have to comply with, from sanitizing toilets and making sure only one member of audience visits the loo at any time during the performance to how arrange seats, etc.
If in this transition period you have a solo show, with no audience physical interaction, you have a good chance it will be preferred over the musical with 30 dancers.
I have no idea when this transition period will be over but these requirements are already having an impact on the industry over here. I’ve been told that some companies are sending their proposal of shows divided into two sections: shows that comply with these guidelines and shows that can be performed after the limitations will be lifted.
Furthermore, for a number of reasons which I think are not difficult to understand, the preferred genre at the moment is COMEDY.
Tragedies are not very attractive for the time being, people have had enough of those and need to escape the grim reality they live in (especially if they’re out of work).
SOLO SHOWS AND COMEDY GENRE
Welcome to the post-Covid world of theatre
I wonder what about stories? What stories will be appealing after all of this?
That’s something I’ll dwell on next week.
Gotta go out now.
I’ll wear mask and have a condom at the ready…. you never know.