I was recently hit with a pretty heavy assignment at work; one that I don’t take lightly. Actually, everyone I work with was hit with a heavy assignment now that I think about it. Many of my colleagues have gotten furloughed due to the coronavirus outbreak. And there are about a billion things I could say regarding the virus and the responses, but that’s not what woke me up at 3 AM. Well, frankly, my second-born crying because I put him back in his bed where he belongs and he would’ve rather slept with us, but that’s “normal.” I suppose it’s more what kept me awake after that. Now that brings us back to the issue at hand: my entire industry (as have most) has crumbled. Everyone non-essential is locked into their homes to socially distance and to avoid furthering the infection and that makes it really hard to produce stage shows, television, movies, run a theme park with 10’s of thousands of people…take your pick. So, mid-last month we all set the ghost lights out, said our sentiments on social media, and prepared to hunker down for the “foreseeable future.” Some good things have come out of this, like Projects with Jason that has brought back together one of my favorite production groups to provide a platform and opportunity for students to show their talents (from their homes) to an Internet audience. It’s been fulfilling and has been a small spark of light in this dark time, one that is growing brighter by the week and I am optimistic about where we’re all going with this and I’m grateful to get to do something of worth that also entertains.
It may seem trivial compared to more important things, but emotional health in times like these are just as important as some other services, just in a different way. Entertainment provides some restorative booster to the emotional health of humanity. I’ve said before why I do what I do and why it’s important to me, but now (for the first time in over 20 years) I’m forced to reckon with if I believe it like I always thought I did. Namely, as my work remains closed and my colleagues are all furloughed, I will remain at work to “hold down the fort” and “keep the lights on” until it’s safe for everyone; crew and guest alike, to return. And, I don’t take this task lightly, either.