Well, well, well. We’ve hit a new pitch to the apocalypse, haven’t we? To be honest, I almost miss the March/Tiger King era of quarantine. When we were all staying home and yeah things sucked but we had at least some control of our lives. I never thought we’d get to the point where parents have to choose between bankrupting themselves on childcare so they could go back to work OR losing their jobs to be with their children, who have to be at home, and just kind of hope that they can still pay their bills. I didn’t think we’d get to the point of “do you want to be healthy and COVID-free or do you want a job? You can’t have both.”
I feel like we’ve fully entered 1984 with dashes of Brave New World and The Hunger Games.
Like everyone else who lives alone, I’ve been struggling with depression, anxiety, and loneliness. It’s been incredibly, incredibly hard to not let my worst thoughts get the best of me. And I have a lot of worried, well-intentioned friends who are fixers. Who want to just fix the issue for me and that’s lately made things much worse.
Something I spent some time thinking about last night is trying to define my loneliness. No one around me seems to really get what I mean. It’s not a lack of friends. Like in my most dramatic moments, I’ll say have no friends here but that’s not true. My best friend is here and I’ve made others. If I really wanted to see a different person every day (in a safe and socially distant way), I could. I’ve never been the type of person who had a big group of friends. I like having 3-5 really good friends and that’s it.
What I’m lonely for, what I miss the most is theatre. A very non-socially distant theatre. I miss walking into what I assume used to be a closet that’s now been turned into a rehearsal space. Meeting new people who were just as excited about new work as I am. And then going to into a small 99 seat black box and putting on a show. I miss tech. I miss falling asleep on the stairs in the audience to take a power nap while the lighting designer tells the actors to find their light. I miss going to some dive bar after and talking about literally everything but the show we’re working on.
I had gotten to the point where I got to do this every other month. I got on a plane, stayed in a hotel or airbnb, and met a new group of theatre artists. Every other month.
Watching actors discover things I didn’t even know about characters I wrote, watching directors really get into the heartbeat of the play, revising overnight just to do it again.
And I’ve figured out a way to do that over Zoom. And yes the readings at RLTC have been really rewarding. It’s been incredible to watch actors still find ways to connect over Zoom. I know some people are still struggling with it but the character work that can happen over Zoom is truly mind blowing. I’ve learned so much about directing from Zoom readings that I really can’t wait to bring to staged readings when we’re back.
There are a lot of really great things. We’re not limited to region anymore. The argument of “I can’t someone to play this role” has been blown up. You can’t find a black trans actor? In the whole world????? Are you kidding?
So much good. And I know we’re at a point where we’re just going to make it happen. Feels like we’re not allowed to mourn anymore. It’s just time to get to work.
But every once in a while, I’m going to need to be honest about where I’m at. I’m trying to fill a hole in my heart that’s been there for as long as I can remember. And the only thing that’s ever filled it is playing music from the booth at 2 am while we re-focused lights or watching actors do those weird warm-up exercises or even the looks I had mastered during talk-backs whenever I got asked a not-question question.
I’ve been in the same place for way too long. And I understand why. But y’all, my wanderlust is getting to me. My need to meet people I don’t know while we’re shoved in a closet playing dress-up is getting to me. I wanna be where the people are.
Maybe loneliness is the wrong word. Maybe it’s angst or just straight up heartbreak. And I’m ready to get back to work. There’s so much to do. And I’m excited to do it. I really do feel like the pandemic, despite being a sh*t show, has really empowered me to take control of the things I can. And to make sh*t happen for myself instead of waiting around for everyone. And it’s been wonderful.
But maybe, every once in a while, just give me a minute?