If the COVID-19 pandemic had never happened, I would have spent two or three hours last Sunday afternoon watching The Collective Face Theatre Ensemble’s production of the musical “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” in the Kennedy Fine Arts building at Savannah State University.
And I’d be reviewing that production in this column.
In the last several years, the local theater scene seemed to be gaining momentum, but the pandemic has obviously proved a setback.
Instead of finishing their current seasons in grand style and announcing their schedules for next season, the various local companies have been forced to cancel shows and wait for more positive news on the public health front.
The Collective Face still plans to produce “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” in 2021. The company isn’t yet announcing a full new season but is working on something they’re calling the Fall Fractal.
Company director David Poole tells me that the current plan, which is contingent on whether live performances will be allowed, is for a series of staged readings in honor of the renowned playwright Terrence McNally, who died in March of COVID-19.
The “Monthly McNally” series is currently slated for a July kickoff with “Love! Valor! Compassion!” followed by readings of “Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune” in August and “Master Class” in September.
Each play would be performed three times to limited audiences, with benefits to complimentary organizations. Be sure to follow The Collective Face on Facebook and watch for details here in Do.
Savannah Repertory Theatre was forced to cancel the production of “The Light in the Piazza” and is accepting donations to the SavRep COVID-19 Ghost Light Relief Fund.
Savannah Stage Company had to suspend in-person productions of “Charlotte’s Web” and wrapped up the run with a live stream on Facebook.
Asbury Memorial Theatre Company canceled several performances of “Man of La Mancha.”
The Savannah Children’s Theatre had to postpone performances of “Seussical” but is holding their summer camp.
In addition to the programming limbo, local theatre companies have lost crucial ticket sales and upfront investments in canceled productions.
If folks want to have a thriving theatre scene when we emerge from the pandemic, this might be a good time to provide some extra support.
Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at hissing lawns (www.hissinglawns.com).