I might catch COVID-19, but until then I’ll keep going to shows

Maybe it’s just irrational lockdown fatigue. And I’m as suspicious as anyone of the deployment of “personal responsibility” as a cover for government failure. But I love seeing shows, and now more than ever they need to be seen, because we’ve never been more at risk of losing them for good.

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Actors are turning into real estate agents. Lighting crews turn to electricians, set builders to carpenters. Musicians say to themselves “well, maybe it’s time to do that degree in education”. Invisibly a generation of talent is being decimated and we’ll never really see its absence we’ll just have to wonder how bad the 2025 theater season or the 2030 pop music top 10 or the calendar lyric 2040 could have been better.

There are shows that have gone through the cancel-reschedule roll too many times and will disappear before their time.

And there are things that can and should be done about it by people other than us, but there is also something that can be done by me: that is to show up and laugh and applaud and to tell everyone how fantastic it is.

We truly live in an amazing country for music, theatre, dance, opera, visual arts, arts-that-you-can’t-quite-categorize-but-that- are awesome.

I always knock on the nearest stick when I’m told that no theater has been a great streaming site but it’s true. You sit, you face the front, you wear a mask, there is little mixing. It’s as safe as, probably safer than the shops (many of which also pinged me when I was in Sydney, including one I was in for a single minute).

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At some point, this virus will catch up with me. It seems inevitable, though I’m not looking forward to it: I’ve heard first-hand stories of the long COVID and lingering fatigue some are suffering from. But with COVID everywhere and with three kids about to go back to daycare/school, it’s only a matter of time before I too have the spicy cough.

So what to do in the meantime (and even after)? Yes, I am responsible not only for myself but for other members of society. But I believe that there is a middle ground, a fair balance that allows living outside of an airtight closet: that if I wear a mask, that if I truly respect the rules of social distancing, that if I keeps my social life simmering rather than full burn, so it’s not irresponsible to go out to a theater or three.

I understand the reluctance. I feel it too. We have been trained to become familiar with isolation and for good reason.

It is not true that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. There are alternatives: buy a subscription, book a ticket for a future show. But I’m lucky to be able to walk out the door, and that’s what I intend to do.

Mask on.

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