Theaters — both cinema and stage — act to survive COVID era | News |

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Somerset, Kentucky

A wonderful performance should not be missed.

However, in the past year, the number of these viewers has decreased-many times they are confined to the sofa in their living room.

One of the countless tragedies of COVID-19 is its impact on theaters, including movies and live performances. With the closure of large theater chains, large budget blockbusters see postponement or direct access to home viewing, and streaming media services continue to increase, this is a difficult time for the film industry, the global box office has been financially hit. In the billions. Theaters are not only hit on Broadway. Small companies across the United States have to reinvent themselves or gradually disappear.

In Somerset, the situation is no different. Concerns about the coronavirus have affected entertainment opportunities to watch live broadcasts, but most venues in the community still found a way to survive, after all, performances must continue.

the film

On any Friday or Saturday night in a normal year, the parking lot at Somerset Cinema 8 will be full. Since last spring, finding parking spaces has become very easy.

Mark Combs, assistant manager of theater operations, said: "Usually, most theaters are about 10% to 15% of what we used to work." The staffing has dropped. We used to have a dozen employees. "

This number has now been reduced to about five, but Combs is one of them and has been in existence for 14 years. During that time, many things happened to him in the movie theater business, but maybe there is no more challenging and uncertain era than this era.

With the impact of the first batch of COVID-19 closures, Somerset Cinema 8 closed in March, but at least returned in June. In District 27 of the United States, Showplace Cinema was also closed in March last year, and its fate is permanent. Highway 27 Driving Hall can show movies normally in the summer, but this is limited to limiting the party to your own car, and like the reopened Somerset Cinemas 8, they are affected by the lack of Hollywood film production and must show some long-term collections Folder instead of the new version.

Combs of Somerset Cinemas 8 said: "For about six months, we have been playing classic, older releases such as'Jaws' or'ET' to survive." Since opening the backup, Christmas This is our first time playing all new albums. "

Combs pointed out that due to one of the few real flicks in 2020, "Wonder Woman 1984" had a business growth of about 20% at Christmas. But this is just a drop of money on the popcorn bucket in the grand plan.

He said: "A lot of people have not yet watched a movie." "This is one of these consumables. They have other channels."

He added: "Different studios are doing different things. Warner Bros. (which also releases movies on HBO Max and movie theaters. With big movies like "Wonder Woman", this movie (the theater business)) at least cut Half. It was shown in theaters for a 17-day screening window, but after the third weekend, (the movie) was shown on VOD (video on demand), so people can choose."

However, it seems difficult to imagine that there is no place for a cinema in society, even if it is not as large as in the past. Even food is a big deal for people-Somerset Cinema 8 does offer discounted roadside pickup during the shutdown period, just to let people know they are still open.

Comb said: "Many people don't know that we are open." "They come in and they are surprised."

Combs said the theater has taken precautions against COVID-19, such as reducing seats by 50%, but this has not had much impact. Customers are required to wear a mask to enter the building, but once they sit down and watch a movie at a distance from others, they can take off the mask in the theater itself. Employees wear masks themselves and work behind glass barriers, and customers can swipe their credit cards to make things "more contactless," Combs said.

Like the hero in that big action movie, the cinema will find a way to success.

Combs said: “If a theater goes bankrupt, they can still come back through other owners.” “It’s profitable for studios to make as much money as possible. I don’t understand why they don’t want to make money on both ends, but I don’t. It is believed that (theatre business) will resume development as it is now. The time when 16 theaters used to show movies has passed, and adult small movies and dramas may have less showing time. Even if there is, the theater will always watch big movies. If the streaming service takes over, we may not see any big movies, because movie theaters must have the incentive to spend billions of dollars to make movies."

On stage

Flashback Theatre Co. (FbTC) was established in the last few months of 2014, but has successfully become known as a semi-professional theatre company in the region. It uses local talents to produce high-quality performances such as "The Importance of Seriousness" with limited resources. , "Rosenkranz and Gildenstein are dead" and the small opera "Pirates of Penzance".

The theater has been watching the three production seasons from the second half of 2020 to 2021, but it can be said that COVID-19 concerns interrupted the show. FbTC still managed to stage "Dangerous County" by Allison Moore in July, but it could only be done outdoors, with actors wearing transparent face masks and audience wearing masks.

Xiao Qi said: "We believe that (these preventive measures) will also become an element of this year." At least one "this year" can be said. Flashback is still looking for two shows this summer, one in June and one in July. 

At the same time, FbTC has launched its own Patreon community-a content subscription service provided through a website

. Currently, there are 41 subscribers who can provide different amounts of donations every month and get more and more income. 

Sommer Schoch, Flashback’s production art director, said: “We launched the Patreon platform to attract supporters and make sure we have a way to survive.” “This is also a way to keep our artists engaged. We’re always doing it. Possibly integrate digital content. Over the past few months, we have had to shelve, but our online skits (available via Patreon), podcasts, radio dramas, artist updates and archive materials have also been shared."

Xiao Qi pointed out that as long as one person subscribes, anyone can access the content, which includes the original materials of local writers and actors. People with a subscription price of $25 or more per month will access that person's content when available.

Xiao Qi said: "For us, it's a bit like Netflix or Hulu." "At this point, it's an easy thing for people."

One of the main functions of FbTC is to let us play! As Schoch said, the series used drama games and other projects to create an educational promotion plan that also served as a "social atmosphere for artists." Schoch said the issue was also shelved due to issues related to the coronavirus, but FbTC is currently trying to make it actually return this spring to "rejuvenate the fragmented (theatre) community." 

She added: “One of the challenges is that we are competing with other online content with better resources.” “Because it is a local theater, people have learned that if they want to participate in an event face to face again, they need to act in these areas immediately. We provide support."

Another major participant in the local theater is looking for ways to provide performance opportunities without a live audience. Steve Cleberg has served as director of the drama program at Somerset Community College for more than three decades. He retired at the end of the last school year, but he has been very busy in his newly discovered free time.

"After retiring, I started working on some private writing projects. In my opinion, many actors do not have the way out that they had before executing the virus, so I tried to consider what we did (which made ourselves) in the shortest possible time Inside, as few people as possible gather together and use this to create movie projects."

Using video conferencing technology, an independent short film "The Basement" was produced. This is a modern filming of Molière's "Imagination Ineffectiveness", which debuted on YouTube in August. But Cleberg wanted him to become a web series. 

Kleberg said: "I want as many people as possible to perform and still maintain a certain safety standard." "Strangely, I think I want to find a project like the movie "Spoon River Collected Works", just Like what we did in college, then I thought,'Why don't you make'Shaohehe Collected Works' itself?

"Shaohe Collection" is a series of monologues published in the public domain in 1915. Over the years, Sleberg's SCC plans to execute the work many times, but the nature of the work-individual characters (mostly characters in the novel) came from a small town called Spoon River and have now passed away, but Tell the story of the afterlife-it will translate well into a separately recorded performance.

Kleberg said: "I started to invite the actors, asking them to play a role, every few days, I will do it." The actor entered the role and shot from multiple angles, conveying his monologue. Their photographer lies on a series of musically inspired images of the period. 

So far, two "Spoon River People" projects have been produced and put on YouTube on the Cleberg Studios page-one is called "Tombstone", which randomly reflects the stories of some reflective citizens, and the other is called "Pan Jie" The legend, "is about the tragedy of the most famous couple in the community and their wayward son. The third book currently in production, focuses on the artists of "Spoon River". 

These videos have local talents, can be watched for free on YouTube, and provide performers with excellent performance exercises.

Kleberg said: "Finding the character's peculiarities and seemingly deep-rooted impulses is a huge acting challenge," he also appreciates that this format allows performers such as Joe and Shirley Rees and Teresa Kibby to take advantage of it. Their musical talent. 

Kleiber said: "I might do these until I get tired of doing it." "Even if things improve, they turn out to be a great small web series... I might do this until I run out Monologue or I think it has reached an organic conclusion."

Betty Spears of Science Hills, 75, died on Monday, January 11, 2020 at the Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital Jean Wardle Care Center. Arrangements are yet to be made and will be announced by Morris & Hislope Funeral Home later. Can express condolences to the family: www.morrisandhis...

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