So Melbourne is out of lockdown and everything can return to normal, right? For lovers of the performing arts, who’ve been informed that theatres can’t open with more than 75 people indoors, it’s more a case of ‘not so fast’. For the actual artists themselves – the theatre makers, the performers, the musicians, front-of-house and technical support staff – it feels more like catastrophic collapse.
The inaugural RISING Festival was cancelled after a single day, the majority of its shows likely gone for good. All theatre is transitory, a kind of momentary haunting, but this ‘insubstantial pageant faded’ was a particularly cruel felling of the city’s already bruised artistic spirit.