COVID-19: Waiting For Better Times

Actor Andre Mangion dreams about the return to our physical theatres.

Photo credit: Kris Micallef

I have, for the past months, been busy working from home. Naturally, the customary dynamics have changed. The Covid-19 pandemic means spending a good portion of my time meeting people virtually and discussing different forms of artistic endeavours for the months to come.

I think right now artists and performers are broadly categorized in two frames of mind. There are those who tend to favour waiting for better times, because live theatre has been and will always be their loved medium.

And there are those who are grabbing the bull by its horns and re-creating themselves artistically for a digital platform.

While I think both mind frames have their own merits on a personal level, at the time of writing I am more inclined towards the former rather than the latter.

I do not think it is a matter of throwing in the towel on the experience of live arts. The experiences of a digital platform and the live arts are not the same. Not inferior or superior – simply not the same.

I am not too comfortable saying that the long-term vision for the Arts should be to try and replicate the experience of live arts with a digital platform. I am more inclined in discovering ways of how the two experiences can co-live together and sustain each other in the future.

Within this frame of thought, something which is for sure, is that I will not be halting from thinking creatively and come up with ideas for better times. I must admit. During this year I have been experimenting with a new form of writing, which is kind of new to me. I am amalgamating this form within the parameters of theatre. I do hope to share this work with audiences when the appropriate time comes around.

I am also following cultural research on how audiences will return to theatres. Research companies are assessing the likelihood and the public tendency of returning to cultural events.

I firmly believe that such research could help artists and public cultural organisations in creating a strategic plan for the eventual re-opening of theatres and cultural centres.

Locally, a national collective effort towards this type of research would be highly beneficial to all interested parties, whether it is a Public Cultural Organisation or an individual performer.