BENGALURU: Turns out the adage, ‘the show must go on’ does not always hold true. And artistes in the city are experiencing it the hard way. With performance spaces suspending operations and touring artistes putting off their visit, the Covid-19 outbreak is causing a major setback for the fraternity. “When something like this pandemic happens, we have to stop our work. This is a tough time for all us,” Arnav Rao, a Bengaluru-based stand-up comedian, says, revealing that two of his performances – scheduled for March 7 and March 14 – were cancelled. Fellow comedians and festival organisers have had to cancel shows as well, he adds. According to Rao, using the virtual medium to showcase one’s content isn’t a reassuring alternative either, and he is trying to make up the loss of income by taking up freelance writing jobs now.
Musicians have a similar story to tell, with many of them calling off their tours and shows within and outside the city. Michael Dias of city-based band, Mad Orange Fireworks, however, emphasises that the concern looms large across every field and not just for musicians. “For the survival bit, I am focusing more on the classes that I hold. I can still make use of virtual platforms to keep myself occupied,” he says.
“It will be a while before live gigs resume in Bengaluru, and until then I have to find means to keep going. There’s definitely a hit that we are going to face but it’s not limited to us, the whole economy is at stake. But I believe that we will get through this,” adds Dias, who was a part of the John Mayer Tribute show which was set to be held on March 14 but was cancelled.
While musicians and comedians are looking towards putting up their work online, theatrepersons say the medium does not work for them. Theatre actor Sagnik Sinha who was a part of the production, Crossing to Talikota, which was Girish Karnad’s final play, says it was set to premiere at the NCPA in Mumbai on March 13, but was called off hours before the staging. Calling the scenario a heartbreak for the whole crew, Sinha adds that massive losses have been incurred and future plans have also been shelved.
His production, The Importance of Being, which was set to premiere in mid-April has also been put on hold now. “These are circumstances beyond our control and we can only bow to it. Theatre is interactive, and the audience is an important part of it. We have no channels on which we can put our work out,” he says. “Of course, this is the time for us to sit back and ideate. But financially we are dealing with a heavy blow. Some of us practise theatre full-time, and we are really incapacitated as of now.”