Throughout the pandemic Second Stage has continued to engage with our artists. For the one year anniversary of theater closures, we asked them what it has been like to live, work, and create in a year unlike any other. Over the next few weeks weâ€™ll be sharing their answers with you as we look forward to being in person again.
"Iâ€™m not gonna lie â€” writing has been challenging over the past year. Thereâ€™s a lot of second-guessing yourself â€” is this what people will want to see in a year, or two years, or three?
I wrote a draft of a commission for Second Stage that we heard aloud there in January of 2020, which now feels like another era. It went over pretty well, and seemed to have potential. But when I re-read the play over the summer it suddenly felt different, and not quite right for this particular moment.
Not that I know what IS right for this particular moment. Or the moment down the road when plays being written now might get produced. It can make your head spin (which typically isnâ€™t great for writing).
But Iâ€™ve found a lot to be inspired by this year, and written new plays that I like, and in the end thatâ€™s all one can do.
I donâ€™t think you can write a play to meet a moment. By the time youâ€™ve written it, the moment will have passed."
Â AMITH CHANDRASHAKER
Â LIGHTING DESIGNER
"To say creating work in the pandemic has been odd or surreal would be an understatement.Â
I donâ€™t think we should call what we made Zoom plays, because you were taking plays that were never meant to be in a medium like that and shoving them into that medium.Â But we have started seeing people write to that medium and weâ€™ve started to see some flickers of some ideas that could be really interesting and could be pushed forward. I think that youâ€™re now going to see writers and directors and makers build specifically to the digital medium and I think that the possibility of that is really exciting.
I think that in the initial moments when everything shut down, we werenâ€™t creating anything but it allowed us time to reflect as an industry on how we treat each other and how we can push for change not just in theater but in our society. I think that everybody wants a more equitable and respectful theater industry and to open our focus on the stories that are told onstage as well as how the creators of the work and the people who consume the work are treated.
When work started to pick up in the fall and it was all virtual or at a distance, I think it didnâ€™t directly address those issues, it was a preamble to what is still coming. The work that we have been doing has started laying the foundations for the work weâ€™ll do when weâ€™re back in person."
Â J.C. LEE
"In the fall of 2020 I was thinking about a lot of things. Theatre -- what I missed (and what I didn't) -- politics on the eve of an election that vaguely promised to solve all our problems but would drag out and exacerbate so many of theÂ very divisions that had driven our culture over the decade, and how I was feeling: Weird. Lonely. Angry. Frustrated. Confused.Â
But as I began to dare and hope that an end to our global nightmare was glinting ever so tenuously on the horizon, I asked myself what I wanted toÂ see when I finally got back in a room with other human beings
More than anything, I want to laugh. The laughter that brings tears that brings healing.Â I found healing in writing, in imagining what the world would look like once 2020 in all its gory glory was finally behind us."
We are truly humbled by your shared commitment to our mission and investment in our work. We remain committed to uplifting the work of living American playwrights as we look forward to reengaging in person with our audiences and artists soon. Your continued support of our work serves to fuel our drive to return bolder and more daring than ever.