On 23 March 2020, I booked a 5-day run of Not Such Stuff during Camden Fringe. Premiere date is 25 August; the COVID virus will be under control and not an issue anymore by then, right?
Fast-forward to 25 August 2020. The COVID virus is not only still an issue, it has actually disrupted the entire industry to a degree that's devastating. Camden Fringe is cancelled. Boo.
I've been humming and hawing since the Camden fringe organisation decided to cancel the festival. Do we move online? Do we cancel the show and pick it back up when the pandemic is over? Rehearsals have been going ahead on Zoom for a few months now and it's fun to have the time to get really deep into text and character analysis, but we do want to stage this show at some point.
As director and producer, the choice is up to me. My show booking is still in the Etcetera Theatre's books and can be rescheduled. We have a cast, we have weeks of rehearsal under our belt, I have set designs and transition drafts. But we're looking at April or May in 2021 at the earliest to stage anything in person. Do I want to perform this soon or according to my vision?
The decision is two-fold: Artistically, I want to stage this the way I see it. White box, 8 chairs, 3 microphones, and 8 actors. It could be done online, but it won't be the same. That's what keeps going through my head: "it won't be the same, it won't be the same, it won't..."
The second consideration is a business one: Online shows generally only charge ticket fees if the actors are either famous, or the money goes to the venue that would have staged the show IRL. I have neither. An online show doesn't cost much to produce, definitely not as much as a show in a venue, but I'd like to pay my actors. And for that I need ticket sales.
So, I contacted the Etcetera Theatre, discussed options, checked diaries, and then was able to email my cast: WE HAVE SHOW DATES!! #eek
So, COVID-willing, we will perform Not Such Stuff on 06 & 07 & 08 & 09 May 2021 at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden, UK. Tickets will go on sale closer to the dates - please buy them!