Back in April, I wrote this post detailing my early Zoom experience. It’s been five months and in that time, I’ve participated in and hosted tons more Zoom readings and gatherings. Everything I wrote about in April still holds. Here are a few added thoughts:
- Zoom doesn’t replace…I’ve seen some incredible Zoom readings. But even at their very best, they just make you long for the theatre even more. You can’t help but think, “As good as this reading was, how good would it be to see it live, with the actors right in front of you? With a beautiful set and lighting and costumes and sound design. To share this magical experience with others. To discuss the play over drinks in the lobby afterwards. Meet the artists involved…I can’t wait to be in the theatre again!”
- Zoom can augment the work…Because it’s always been difficult to get people together in a location at a specific time, a lot of useful work can’t always get done. Zoom removes that time and space barrier. Should they want, actors can rehearse more. Directors can communicate more. Designers can collaborate more. In theory, this enhanced rehearsal, communication and collaboration should deepen the work, make for better overall productions and a smoother process throughout.
- Zoom creates new opportunities to make art and get the word out about our art…One example: At Vs., we do play readings every Tuesday night. Prior to Covid, we did them in person at the theatre. Now we do them on Zoom. If we had 20 people show up in person, that was a really good night. Now we routinely draw double that number and from all over the country. In a few cases, overseas! So many more people can participate and get to know Vs. When things go back, yes we’ll resume Tuesday Night readings in person. But we will definitely add Zoom readings on another night. And when in production, we’ll be thinking about ways to communicate to our audience over Zoom. Maybe a live table read. Or single scene presentation. Or the actors, directors, designers and crew discuss their love of the material. We can show our passion in action.
So let us embrace and be thankful for this technology. The more we lean into and use it, the deeper our work, the longer our reach, and the more excited people will be to see live theatre again.
Go make (Zoom) art with your friends.