90.5 WESA – Labor Day heralds the start of the fall arts season in Pittsburgh. And in any other year, theater companies, dance troupes and other performing-arts groups would be preparing to pack indoor stages with performers, and fill seats with patrons.
But as with nearly everything else in public life, it’s all rather different in 2020.
The coronavirus pandemic means government-imposed limits on the size of indoor gatherings. It also means safety guidelines that determine how physically close artists themselves can get to create, rehearse and perform.
Troupes are adapting. Many are building on the online programming they offered this spring and summer, after the pandemic first hit. But a few are experimenting with in-person programming.
This summer, Quantum Theatre staged a livestreamed version of Caryl Churchill’s “Love and Information,” with a cast consisting entirely of cohabitating couples performing in front of webcams in their own homes. After the midsummer spike in coronavirus cases here, Quantum canceled an in-person, outdoor production it had scheduled for August. Last weekend, the group launched a season of livestreamed shows with “Constellations,” also starring three sets of cohabitating couples.
“At least you’re looking at actors live who can touch each other and be in the same space together,” said artistic director Karla Boos.
“We’re just doing this for now, because it seems completely premature to try to gather people at all,” she said…