That was the case with St. Nicholas,
a monologue by masterful Irish playwright Conor McPherson performed as a webcast
by Bruce DuBose, an actor of riveting intelligence as well as producing artistic director of the Undermain.
The production was discovered on the internet by Terry Teachout,
theater critic for the Wall Street Journal, who wrote a review that lavished praise upon the project.
Now Bruce is searching for other solo pieces to offer online, some with women.
Of course, it costs money to produce these videos, but he reports that funding for the Undermain “is in solid shape right now.”
State and city funding have helped, and TACA “has really stepped up to the plate during the pandemic.”
Looking ahead, he sees a push “to create more diversity on stage and in organizations. . .. The environment of theater,
people crammed in like sardines, this will change. . .. There will be more ways to perform, some outdoors.”
The short attention span of the young, “their education interrupted by COVID, will have an effect on the performing arts.
Bruce DuBose [We’ll see] improvisation, the art of pastiche.”
He foresees “snippets, vignettes [for the young who can’t] follow a plot for two hours.”
Still a believer in live performance, he insists there’s no other way to get “the catharsis of theater”—what Aristotle called a purging of pity and fear.
And what about the pity and fear that pervade the performing arts? Is relief on the way?
From anywhere? “It’s only the federal government that has the resources,” says Moriarty. “Donations cannot do it.”
Save our Stages, a bill introduced by Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota to pump $10 billion into the situation “does not have opposition,”
according to Moriarty, but there’s not enough “energy or support” either. Villaume points out that European governments routinely fund the arts.
In Germany, the New York Times reports, the government “will compensate small and midsize businesses that shut down” because of COVID, including theaters.
The government “will cover up to 75 percent of their losses, up to a total of $11.9 billion.”
In the UK, the Arts Council, responsible for distributing funds from the lottery,
Bruce DuBose is dispensing $1.1 billion to arts and cultural groups, including $2.6 million to freelancers.
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