San Antonio's Classic Theatre Announces Flexible, Socially Distant 2020-2021 Season

Courtesy Photo / The Classic Theatre
On Sunday, the cast, crew, friends and patrons of the Classic Theatre of San Antonio gathered via Zoom to toast the announcement of a flexible 2020-2021 season, which will feature three plays.

Macbeth, Our Town and Antigone are each tentatively scheduled to run for two weekends at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, followed by two more weekends at The Espee in St. Paul Square. The season will kick off this October with Macbeth.

As previously announced, the nonprofit's 13th season of Theatre in the Rough will be performed exclusively at outdoor venues with audiences bringing their own chairs and blankets to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. Attendees will also be required to wear masks.

Securing partnerships with outdoor venues seems to have been the greatest struggle in re-thinking live performance amid the pandemic, according to the Classic's Executive and Artistic Director Kelly Roush, who said that's due in part to the city staff at many such venues being furloughed.

"Just getting people to answer the phones to even see if places have been a possibility's really been a challenge,” Board of Trustees Chair Randy Stier added.

In the spirit of being “adaptable, flexible and creative,” as Roush put it in her toast of the evening, the Classic won't be offering traditional season subscriptions, opting instead for a $100 “flex pass” that includes three tickets to any show in any combination. Patrons wishing to support the theatre by purchasing merch can now get a face mask or shot glass featuring the company logo.

“Everything you need for 2020,” Roush quipped.

“We are the choices we make” is the unifying theme of the season. The inaugural piece, Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth is set to run October 2-25. The “Scottish Play,” as it is superstitiously known, charts the bloody course of Lord and Lady Macbeth's ambition for power. Director Joe Goscinski noted the increased relevance of the play in an election year.

While the cast of Thornton Wilder's Our Town has been ready to perform since the production shut down amid tech rehearsals on March 15, the company is hopeful for slightly less socially distant scenario when it runs February 5-28, 2021. The minimalist play celebrates community and would pair well with an old-fashioned public gathering or the annual fundraising events integral to the nonprofit theatre — if it's safe to do so by then.

Finally, the ancient Greek tragedy Antigone, by Sophocles, will run April 8- May 2, 2o21, directed by Roush herself. The eponymous protagonist is a civilly disobedient young woman who argues for the primacy of human dignity and divine law over the cruel decree of a king. According to Roush, the central question of the play is, “How and when do we choose to bend so we don't break?”

To that end, Roush is prepared to bend the lineup to whatever dates the pandemic dictates.

“If it's not safe enough ... we will pivot to Plan B which is February, March, April; Plan C, D, E, or F: we're going to be doing it in rep in May.”

These theatre artists apparently have their act together. Now, if only our country could do the same.

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