God do I miss Washington’s live theatres.
That’s it — that’s the whole post.
Well, almost. I know there’s a lot about pre-pandemic life that we all can’t wait to get back to — bars, sports, weddings, travel — but what makes the District’s theatres such a particularly painful one isn’t just the loss of the experience, it’s the loss of their voice. Many is the time since March that I’ve wished D.C.’s bold, intelligent, diverse, and hungry theatres could weigh in on the 2020 of it all. Not that I’m looking forward to a future season of shows where all the characters are wearing COVID masks (I’m not, and homebound playwrights should stop writing them right now), but the political and social unrest that erupted across America like a plague of boils this year practically begs for just the kind of artists and stages with which we’ve been blessed.
We were spoiled, of course. We know that now. In February, when I saw the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s brilliant Amen Corner and Signature Theatre’s fabulous Gun & Powder, I wish I’d been told that their impressive quality would have to last all year. The next month, when I caught the world premieres of Pass Over at Studio and Celia and Fidel at Arena, I had no way of knowing their vivid depictions of systemic racism and political corruption, respectively, would only grow more timely and poignant as 2020 dragged endlessly on. And someone definitely should have mentioned that Woolly Mammoth’s Shipwreck might have been the last chance to catch Jon Hudson Odom before he got snatched up by Lovecraft Country, right?
All five of the above shows, for the record, were written by, directed by, and starring women and people of color, because hell yes they were.
You know what, never mind bars — gimme my theatre back. I dunno about you, but there’s almost nothing I miss more. I officially suggest that theatrical casts and crews be elevated to the first round of vaccine doses. Bring on 2021.
Featured image via Shakespeare Theatre Company