There’s a saying in the theatrical community that, “The show MUST go on!” In other words; come hell or high water, the industry, the producers, the artists and technicians make every effort to ensure our audiences get to see the show that they bought tickets to see. Although there have been occasions where that proclamation has been tested and even been proven untrue, more often than not, the show really does go on. No matter what! Last week, something happened that is entirely unprecedented when ALL of Broadway was shut down for the next 6 weeks or until further notice. Broadway is currently dark. Although there have been times when the lights on Broadway went dark, occasions when productions were stopped or closed for a period of time, what is happening right now has never happened before. Even during the national tragedy of 911, Broadway was shut down for only days, not for weeks, and most certainly not indefinitely. We are in the middle of a global pandemic and an American public health crisis. These are indeed stressful times.
As the entire world recognizes the inadequacies inherent within our own government institutions, systems and policies to mitigate the power of a global pandemic, the anxiety levels of population centers around the world begin to rise. People are stressed. When people panic, some of the worst traits of human nature begin to surface. There are people who begin to take advantage of other people, there’s a lot of overbuying and hoarding of products that are essential like disinfectant products and physical fights over the dwindling supplies of basic necessities like milk, eggs, bread and toilet paper. Some have even been caught price gouging by stockpiling things like hand sanitizer for example, and then selling bottles of it online for up to 500 to 1000 percent increases on the price. This is completely illegal. In times of stress the real character, ethics and integrity of people is revealed. You don’t develop integrity in times like these, the integrity that is innately your own reveals itself. Who you are and what you are made of becomes crystal clear to everyone with whom you come in contact or whoever witnesses what you DO as compared to what you say?
It is also in these stressful times that the best of human nature can also reveal itself. Leadership becomes key and when our elected officials are failing at the task, there are people among us who are fully capable to step up and become the leaders we need in this moment. Our communities have great leaders within them, and we should not be afraid to look to those leaders for the guidance, information and assurance we need. This is a stressful time, but we will move through it and get beyond it if we work together as a community first.
The coronavirus has no known vaccine or treatment protocol other than waiting it out and hoping to survive the symptoms like most people survive the flu or a common cold. This virus is dangerous and can be lethal regardless of our ethnicity, nationality, identity, class, race or religious affiliation. We are ALL at risk of either being infected by it or being a carrier of the infection that could infect others unwittingly. Let us all work together to the best of our abilities. We need to listen to our scientists, medical professionals and community leadership. We need to avoid panic and do things that keep anxiety levels down as best we can for ourselves, our families, and our loved ones. Yes, what we do day to day may have to change for the time being, but this too shall pass. Hopefully, we will be changed for the better by the experience and in the end, we will be a better nation, and a more compassionate people because of it. We will recognize that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. We have a responsibility to one another. None of us walks alone.