After (?) the pandemic

Chicago theatre has opened again after nearly a year and a half with nothing but occasional online presentations, some of which I have reviewed here. Of course, everything is tentative: the delta variant is creating havoc everywhere, and we’ve just gone back to wearing masks everywhere we gather. So who knows what the future will hold?

As for the present, I’m just happy to be going to shows again. A few things I have noticed:

  • The crowds are smaller: due both to venues voluntarily limiting tickets sold and to general reticence about COVID, the shows I have seen have have not been packed with audience members. Not a bad thing—there is that thing about social distancing—but notable.
  • Everyone seems just happy to be back: audiences, actors, front office people, designers, and basically everyone involved in a play are in great moods. We’ve all weathered something extraordinary, and we know it.
  • People are still trepidatious: we’re back, but are we, really? Baby steps…
  • Happiness can be seen through masks.

My own plans for this site are to return to regular reviewing as things open. However, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a schedule that sometimes had me reviewing as many as eight shows a week. Like so many others, this 17-month break from “normal” has reminded me of the value of family and personal time. I think three shows a week will suffice for me. Maybe four on occasion. We shall see. 🙂

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