by Kyle Marra
Flexibility. This is a word that has become intimately ingrained in our society as a result of the ever-changing economic and social landscape that the year of the pandemic has bestowed upon us. Just when we think things are figured out, we are dealt another curveball. The unpredictability has forced all of us to find innovative ways to move forward despite having to mask up, limit interactions, and in some cases, completely re-invent our approach to business. Live Oak Theatre is no different.
As the virus forced our nation to shut down, Live Oak Theatre suspended its Spring 2020 productions in the interest of safety. As the shutdown lingered and case numbers rapidly increased in the state of Florida, it became apparent that “normal” was a bit further away than we would have liked. However, like so many others, staying closed forever was not an option. So, our team began to dream.
If we opened, would people feel safe? Would people be able to come back after spending so much time not being able to work? What should our cast sizes be? How should our season function? These were all questions we asked ourselves. Our answer: flexibility. But what did that mean?
Flexibility for us meant creating a safe environment in which our patrons and performers would feel comfortable both watching shows and performing in them. To do this we constructed an outdoor stage that mirrors the dimensions of our indoor stage and updated our veranda.
Our new stage made its debut during Live Oak Theatre’s run of The Bard Unleashed, an original adaptation of selections of William Shakespeare’s works. All the things people have come to know and love about Live Oak were present. Staples like coffee, tea, water, and dessert were included with every ticket, and team of talented actors took the stage to perform. While seating was provided, our guests encouraged to take advantage of the outdoors by bringing their own lawn chairs or picnic blankets to enjoy the show. Temperatures were screened upon arrival and our guests were required to wear masks for entry and when in line for food items but could be removed when they were in their socially distanced seat.
Florida, like pandemics, can be unpredictable. It is one of the few states where one can experience all four seasons in one day. Rain or shine, no problem for us. Thanks to the matching dimensions of our outdoor and indoor stages, our shows can shift inside and out seamlessly with no impact on the quality of the show, though you might see a few of our crew members moving quickly to shift set pieces inside if a storm approaches quickly.
Whether you are an avid consumer of entertainment or just looking to get out of the house, we have something for you. Gather your family, pack up the lawn chairs, and come check us out! In the meantime, we will continue to be flexible in order to bring quality family friendly entertainment to Brooksville!
For information about our upcoming shows and events, check out liveoaktheatre.org!
About the Author:
Producer, Live Oak Theatre
After a push from some influential friends, Mr. Marra started Root and Branch Films, a Live Oak Theatre partner. Root and Branch Films has allowed him and others to foster their ever-growing film making skills while also creating an environment for actors, writers, editors, cinematographers, costume designers, and graphic designers to express themselves creatively.