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Out, out damned COVID! Thou art an artless rogue, a coxcomb, a barren-spirited knave, a musty, churlish, lecherous nook-shotten cankerblosom!  Alas, the stars did not align.

Shakespeare in the Park. 2019 Crew; “Much Ado About Nothing”. Image courtesy of Salida Council for the Arts.

“I regret to inform my community that I have made the very difficult decision to postpone our 10th Annual Shakespeare in the Park production to next June (hopefully) over Art Walk weekend,” said Shakespeare in the Park organizer Devon Kasper. “Many elements came into play with coming to this muddy-mettled conclusion.  And although I was trying to move the show to early August, I see now there are still too many snail-paced uncertainties. According to the Governor’s mandates, even if I had a show with 10 or fewer actors and crew, we would still need to social-distance. I am sure you can understand how challenging this would be and masking actors is not an option.”

“Also, more tragically, it is my understanding we would have had a limited number of audience members allowed to watch the show. But as you know the audience is the most important element to a show, and the bigger, the better!

Kasper reported that funding for Shakespeare in the Park has been lost this year as the coronavirus known as COVID-19 has reshaped “normal”. Some actors, understandably, would not have felt safe participating, small cast or not.

Salida Riverside Park. is normally the site of numerous arts and culture events. Image by Scott Peterson

“To be honest August is not an ideal time weather-wise to try to perform outside, with a greater chance of rain and July would make for a very hot rehearsal process,” said Kasper. “Also, I certainly did not want to see my actors and crew put in countless hours and energy only to have things “shut down” again and the show canceled, like we, the Drama Team, experienced with “Clue” in spring at the high school.”

Kasper says she feels at peace with this decision. She wants the audience to see the shows, and the actors be able to act the shows — the way it should be done, “with actors galore and an abundant audience” —  next year.

“Let there be cake and ale!  I thank you for your continued support. My heart goes out to all the artists, poets, musicians, and actors out there who are struggling to find a way to do their thing, have a platform, be witnessed, seen, or heard,” adds Kasper. “Please keep creating, please keep dancing, please keep singing, please keep playing.  We need you…until we are all met, my friends!”