The Journal Gazette
Friday, March 20, 2020 1:00 am

Thinking positively as show canceled

'Encounter' had just begun at Arena

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

One local theater group was already in the middle of performances when the decision was made to cancel the rest of the show's run.

Arena Dinner Theatre's production of “Noel Coward's Brief Encounter” had a well-attended opening night March 13 and ticket sales were going strong, director Gloria Minnich says.

“In my speech to (the cast) before they went on for opening night, I said, 'Just go ahead and perform it as if it's your last performance because we just don't know how this situation is going to evolve,'” she says.

They were able to perform a dress rehearsal for seniors, followed by shows last Friday and Saturday nights. Minnich got the call Monday that the theater was shutting down. The show was to run through March 28.

Minnich and the cast had grown close. Because the production included video scenes that needed to be filmed in warm weather, they had been working on the production for seven months.

The director says they are trying to keep everything in perspective. The cast and crew got to have their opening weekend, even if they didn't really get the chance to say goodbye.

“We're trying to stay positive, but we're all very disappointed at the same time,” Minnich says. “It's very much a mix of feelings.”

Minnich urges the community to offer encouragement to anyone that has been involved in productions or performances that are canceled.

“Keep your chin up and keep looking forward,” she says to the local arts community. “There will be more shows in the future.”

Minnich adds with a laugh, “I guess this is one of those very few instances when the show just actually couldn't go on.”

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