“Ladies and gentlemen, we will be taking a brief intermission prior to the second act. Thank you.”
The ominous voice is so classic. The practice of intermission is classic in the theater, as well. Some people hate it, but I must confess, I love the brief 15-minute period. It is easy, as an arts administrator, to back up this needed time with financial numbers, the added concession sales, donations, etc. to help us reach the bottom line.
But, in the end, we can manage without financial justifications or a bathroom break. I am fond of intermission because, in the midst of the suspense of a story that has enveloped an audience, it is a moment to pause, reflect and connect with fellow audience members. The moments we are left with prior to intermission, and the anticipation for a hopeful resolution, allow us to connect with ourselves and our desires.
What do we want to see happen? Will that resolution occur? What is at stake right now? What, at this moment, am I going to take with me? I believe this time to be crucial to what we do in the industry.
Usually, we reflect on the year at the end and make judgments accordingly to build toward the next year’s goals. I’m sure you have seen many social media posts asking what else 2020 will bring – admittedly it is easy to empathize with this. It feels like we’ve had enough excitement for a decade these last six months. But, if we aren’t careful, we might miss an opportunity.
We’ve been forced into an intermission – to pause. In fact, we are only halfway through. What story is left? What do we want to see happen? With plans derailed, what if we still could accomplish those goals? What story will you write with so much unknown, uncertain?
At Elm Street, we have been forced to pause as well. The end of our season was derailed a bit, but we are still planning to hold our next season. Even as I’m writing this, there is lack of clarity about when we are allowed to open. We are hopeful, but, more important, we are planning. While we are discussing how to remain socially distant during large events, the story we are telling is how our community still can connect. And when we are together, we will cherish those moments even more – looking to build the community together.
– Christopher Brazelton, a Florida State University graduate, is the executive director of Elm Street Cultural Arts Village.