About a year and a half ago, I began the plans to produce Romeo & Juliet for Flatwater Shakespeare by meeting with Andrea von Kampen, a truly gifted folk musician based in Nebraska.
About eight months ago, I began developing the production’s aesthetic and working on the text.
About five months ago, I met with designers and production team members.
About three months ago, we held auditions and brought together a vibrant cast.
(At least a full year before any of the above happened, I bought five A-frame ladders at a yard sale, crammed them in the back of my Subaru, with the seed of vision planted in fertile soil.)
About seven weeks ago we started rehearsals.
About two and a half weeks ago, we held a preview event and got the first taste that there might be a problem with attendance for fear of pandemic.
About two weeks ago, I reached out to some very creative people to see if there would be a way to capture the production on film.
About a day later, we reduced the run by a week after meeting with a team of filmmakers to create an alternative option.
About two days after that, it became clear we had to cancel all public performances for the health and safety of our community and company.
One week ago, we filmed our final rehearsal/ opening- / closing performance.
And we mourned.
We mourned the absence of people we loved who couldn’t be in the room.
We mourned the substitution of one filmed performance for ten live ones.
We mourned and wept together as we said goodbye to the work and to each other two weeks earlier than planned.
It was a devastating loss to not be able to share the work in person, with the dynamics of an audience adding to the chemistry experiment we’d been working on for so long.
And though there is a second life for the work through the technology of video and the generous support of the creators of Third Rail Content, we had to take time to mourn the loss.
Yesterday a handful of people gathered, staying socially distant from each other, and struck the set and hauled everything back to storage. So the stage, the Resonator Gallery at Turbine Flats, is once again bare and awaiting another artist to fill the void. (This was the first production to be staged in the space, and we mourn that loss as well.)
But I celebrate, too.
I celebrate the work of the ensemble and designers and production team and the film crew.
I celebrate the incredible music that Andrea wrote.
I celebrate the collaboration of artists.
I celebrate the fact that a solution was found for the work to be shared.
I celebrate that the work can now reach over a broader distance–so far Chicago, Denver, and Texas–normally well beyond our reach.
I celebrate the time I had with my parents while directing the show.
I celebrate being home again with my husband a bit earlier than planned.
I celebrate the safety of being home and the ability to stay home.
I celebrate the technology that helps keep us connected–phones and Facebook and Zoom.
In every season…turn, turn, turn….
Want to see Flatwater Shakespeare Company’s 2020 production of R&J?