The Beauties & The Beasts #18

PATHOS Penpal Project

Deutsch-Amerikanischer Briefaustausch zwischen Antigone Akgün (DE) und John L. Peacock (USA)

Im Rahmen der Reihe «King Kong und die weissen Frauen»


Dear Antigone,

I understand your frustrations in so many ways. The theatre artists of New York whom I know went one of two ways, completely away from the art (temporarily, they say, at least for now) or to the extreme with what is currently available: online readings, online productions, online theatre classes, online accountability, online group therapy it sometimes seems…I was part of the latter group, proud of my theatre company doing their weekly readings of new plays, proud of the playwrights of the group producing such wonderful scripts throughout the past year, proud of giving elderly patrons of our free readings something to look forward to each week, and proud each time one of them would reach out with a heartfelt letter of thanks…It was a medication to stay off the pandemic anxiety, depression, and existential crises, even if it was ultimately a placebo.

They recently publicly announced Broadway is coming back, in increments, starting in September. Among the Stage Actors’ Union, Equity, there is private talk that the shows may or may not be allowed to go on because of their safety concerns, especially with the promise coming from our governor that the shows will be at “full capacity” when they open. Also, among the members of the union, there is a call to strike and boycott these shows until some major changes occur to protect the actors, crew, interns, staff, all involved from the bullies, sexual predators, and megalomaniacs that have ruled over the American Entertainment industry for far too long. There is also a belief that none of this matters, that things will go back to “business as usual” and that capitalism will override artistry, compassion, empathy, and quite literally the understanding that we artists are humans and not just commodities. I fear this last part may end up being our truth moving forward. We were so close…

Another company I’m an ensemble member of just announced to us they’re devising a new piece that will go up late June. Online, of course. So, another online premiere is what I, too, get to look forward to. Popping a bottle in celebration with my partner there, in our apartment, seconds after the “curtain” goes down and the zoom call ends. Yeah, I want real, tangible, in-person theatre to return so desperately, but I also fear that it will simply come back an imbed itself right back into that little Capitalistic corner of America’s economy, do its duty to entertain the masses, and we artists can either rage against the machine to be destroyed by it, walk away from our art as a profession, or simply join the ranks and hope our voices will eventually make a difference from within the system.

If you can’t tell by now, I’m not the most positive when it comes to looking at what the future will hold. But I am an artist. My imagination can see a different world than the one ending last March. So, here’s to Hope. I am excited along with you to hear what possible news you’ll have to share in your next letter, and wish you All the Best in the meantime.

Best,

Jon L Peacock

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