Remember When?

While the world of theatre is adapting to the pandemic, there is nothing like the energy of being on stage in front of a live audience.

The+once+bustling+stage+of+NASH+is+now+empty%2C+uncertain+when+another+performance+will+be+able+to+take+place+at+full+capacity.

photo by Julia Poppa

The once bustling stage of NASH is now empty, uncertain when another performance will be able to take place at full capacity.

Sally Cho, Staff Writer

I love live theatre. Whether I’m on the stage or in the audience, I know that when the lights go down, I can forget every care and worry in the world and simply be in the moment for the next two hours. 

I love the rush of adrenaline I get before I step onto the stage. I love being awed by an amazing performance. I love laughing with my castmates in the wings, and I love walking away after a show with a full heart and a smile on my face. 

Throughout my high school years at NA, theatre has been my livelihood—it was the thing I looked forward to most, the thing that kept me going on rainy days, and I know it was the same for many others.

In the first week of March 2020, the NASH spring musical held their shows, bringing together thousands of people to support their fellow students and witness months of their hard work. Just a week before that, the NAI spring play took place, once again bringing members of the North Allegheny community together to have a laugh and see their peers do what they do best.

On March 12, a mere week after these performances at North Allegheny, it was announced that Broadway would shut down indefinitely due to the pandemic. Subsequently, all other theatre productions across the country closed. 

When I heard the news, I was baffled. How could it all just end like that?

February 22nd was the last day I got to perform on stage. When I took my bow that night, I had no idea that would be the last time I would be experiencing live theatre for a very long time. The entire cast ran off stage, eager to greet our friends and make it in time for our reservation at Eat’n Park. If only I had known, I would have savored the moment more. I would have taken my time getting off the stage. I would have cast one last look at the smiling faces in the audience and felt the bright lights hitting my face one last time.

I miss having an escape from the mundane life of a suburban high schooler.”

It’s been seven months since I’ve felt pure, unadulterated joy like that. It’s honestly terrifying now to think of a live theatre production taking place. I hate that the thing that brought people so much happiness is now an impossible task.  

I now long for the grueling, late-night rehearsals I used to complain about. I would be more than happy to have too many lines to memorize in time. I now find it ironic that, although theatre is all about being in the moment, I was always too focused on the stress of it to ever actually appreciate what was right in front of me. 

I miss hearing the excited chatter in the audience from behind the curtains. I miss taking a silly picture of my Playbill before a show starts. I miss having an escape from the mundane life of a suburban high schooler.

I’ve seen glimpses of hope and dreams for live theatre amidst a global pandemic. In these last seven months, performers have shown that they will adapt and evolve to carry on their passion with Zoom musicals and drive-through performances. Although such productions will never be able to replicate the feelings that live theatre brings, I admire the creativity and determination of those who are trying to keep theatre alive. I’m grateful that theatre can continue to live on—despite current challenges. This is the new normal, at least for now, and I must adapt.

I dream of the day when I can step into a theatre again. Theatre was my first love, and this period of time feels like a rough breakup to me. I don’t know how to go back to normal life now. The thing that made me feel normal is gone. 

But as they say in the theatre… the show must go on, with or without a full house.