Column

Regina Belt-Daniels: COVID-19 writing new drama I don't want to review

Regina Belt-Daniels
Regina Belt-Daniels

Here’s my review of not reviewing: It’s bizarre. I’ve written more than 250 theater reviews for the Northwest Herald, and I coordinate the schedules of other reviewers.

In a long, uncertain blink of an eye, our calendars were erased – wiped clean of engagements and social events, just like the rest of the country. No more openings, premieres or writing about other worlds, gripping new ideas and themes, and for me, no more waiting for a famous Tribune columnist to walk down the aisle five minutes before the show starts.

We’re stalled – put on hold, in an arts and entertainment limbo that Amazon Prime and Netflix really can’t fix.

Don’t get me wrong. None of us are complaining; we all support 100% the closing of theaters and cancellations in these times. Yet, we’re also hopefully excited about the possibilities of digital/video viewings of productions, but only if it’s safe for the actors and production staff in these unprecedented times.

It’s just odd. We’ve been thrust into a strange normalcy tinged with emergencies laced with fear and anxiety. The writing about performances and passions that always transported me, provided me responsive escapes, has dried up.

I also was involved in an Independent Players comedy, “The Government Inspector,” that understandably was canceled by the city of Elgin. We had had a successful opening weekend under our belts when the word came down.  

And we were the lucky ones – as of that date, our show was postponed until September. I miss the camaraderie of the cast who had become family, the support of the audience waiting for us, the dribble of sweat down my back before I went on, even our director sticking his head between the curtains to make sure we were all in place.

Most of all, I miss the cool, dark comfort of the backstage and the silent excitement of my fellow actors.

I know I’ll have it all back someday, but the letting go and change is a worldwide adjustment; this isn’t the life anyone anticipated. I cannot compare this to anything in my life; I can’t anchor it to anything, and I don’t know where it’s headed.

COVID-19 is writing a new drama, not one that I really want to review.

• Regina Belt-Daniels hopes to continue to do what she loves best: act, teach, write theater reviews, travel with her husband and direct. Acting has been a joy since her debut as a rather bossy Mother Goose in first grade.

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