I would be remiss in my duties if I did not point out that Tuesdays at Nine, the cold reading series for which I am co-Creative Director (longest running series in America, baby), returns for its 30th season this week. The pandemic has certainly hindered us, but it hasn’t stopped us – like most things these days, we’ve continued our activities online, via Zoom.
After a few weeks off over the summer, I’ve spent this past weekend getting back into the routine of preparation for the Tuesday evening to come. I spent last Friday evening confirming the participation of various writers; the weekend was spent casting the various scripts. I discussed casting with my colleagues, emailed actors, and then spent a considerable time texting and messaging to make sure they saw those emails (actors, amirite). After a few weeks of (comparative)mental entropy, I feel back into this routine with a certain satisfaction in solving the puzzle of it all – a satisfaction, I must admit, that was mixed with a growing sense of horror.
Because how on earth is this already a routine?!
Remember, casting of the pieces at Tuesdays at Nine is traditionally done in person. Actors gather a half hour beforehand, and we cast on the spot based on who’s in the room that evening. The advance casting I’ve described above is a system we’ve had to improvise over the past six months, since the size of our community is too large to attempt to do anything like this over the zoom platform. I’m falling back into rhythms, patterns, and systems that, prior to six months ago, did not exist and never would have needed to exist. We never imagined that a set of circumstances at once so horrific and so ridiculous would occur that would require us to jury-rig this system of remote performance.
And it already feels routine?!
Humanity’s resilience, its adaptability, is usually looked at as one of our greatest strengths. I just wish we had the basic common sense and decency not to force us to have to adapt to this stuff in the first place.
Because I was really looking forward both to meeting up with everybody for our season opener in person, as well as a fairly relaxing weekend.