As I write this, late on Sunday night, I am waiting to receive confirmation from one final actor that they’ll be able to participate in this week’s Tuesdays at Nine reading. That’s the cold reading series, run by the Naked Angels theater company, for which I serve as co-creative director. Back in the Before Times, we took that term “cold reading” quite literally; we would cast the evening’s pieces on the spot, with the audience serving as our talent pool. We’ve got a couple hundred actors in said pool, so this hasn’t really been feasible while we’ve been doing zoom theater. So instead, for the past year and a half, my co-host and I have been spending our weekends reaching out to our actors, emailing and texting, to lock down their participation in each week’s presentations over zoom. Four multi-character pieces per week. Each week. For a year and a half.
Well, barring the unforeseen (thanks a lot, omicron), this is the last weekend I’ll have needed to spend hunkered down at my laptop, shooting off emails and furiously updating casting spreadsheets. This Tuesday is our last scheduled zoom meeting. After that, on December 21, we’ll have our yearly holiday installment – which will double as our return to in-person programming. Regardless of what masks we may have to wear and what kind of proofs of vaccination we’ll need to present, we’ll all be in the same physical space once more – and so we’ll be able to hold off on any casting until the actual event. A few missives to our writers will be all I have to worry about during the weekend prior.
At long last, free time awaits me, right?
Except – now that we’re returning to in-person events, and the theater industry in general is back up and running, there’s all sorts of legwork that needs to be done. Auditions to go to. Headshots and postcards to pick up from printers. This past weekend, when I wasn’t emailing actors, I was scouting out the space for the holiday event, and scouring the neighborhood for after-show bars and other amenities. That was after an hour’s commute to get there from where I live; after all those errands were done I had another hour’s commute back home.
These are things we used to take for granted. But after a year and a half of our bodies being confined to our apartments and our creative lives being confined to zoom screens, we’re all a little out of practice. A little out of shape. Transitioning back to the way things were – or at least some approximation of the way things used to be – is exhausting.
So if this week’s blog post is a little shorter than usual, it’s because I’ve had a long weekend and I am tired. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.