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  • Jim Roach

Dark Days Without Stage Lights

When the stage lights went out across the country, more than just the venues went dark. So many people were affected by the lack of live performances. Yes, musicians, comics and actors lost their work. So did the Ticket Takers, Box Office personnel and Tech Staffs. The marketing department had nothing to market, and the fundraising department had nothing to sponsor. Those retired volunteers that take you to your seats are missing out on giving back and a free show. That bar or restaurant across the street has lost your business, too. The parking garage or meter is missing revenue. If you were coming from out of town, that hotel room will remain empty until those light come back on. Event those on-line ticket scalpers had to find work by offering you an Extended Car Warranty. However, that is not all that was lost.

For me, the greatest loss is to humanity itself. You might take that as a bold statement, yet I believe it true. Gathering for entertainment is part of who we are. Humans are pack animals. Back when a “Man Cave” was really a cave we were dependent on banding together for a chance to thrive and enhance our lives.

Way back then, a great night was watching someone do shadow puppets on the cave wall after someone else decorated it with pictures of local animals. Even then, we came together for art and performance. Sure, beyond that the only entertainment was guy banging to a hollow log (first drum solo). I bet everyone in those little groups stood around to watch. Ok, maybe the ladies ignored the “stump thumper.” They might have been waiting for the guitar player or lead sing to be invented, but the dudes loved it.

Recently, 60,000-year-old flute designed by a neanderthal was discovered. I can imagine our ancestors sitting around a fire listening to these early sounds. This was the first campfire entertainment, minus the marshmallows. The flute was a wonderful instrument until someone in ancient Scotland stuffed it into a sheep’s bladder and developed the bagpipe. Really, no one wanted that. To this day, Bagpipes are only used in Marching Bands and told to keep moving. Yet, we’ll sit on the side of the road to watch even that.

What I am trying to say here is this: Watching a live performance makes us better, it always has. If we can gather in a room, theatre, field, or parking lot, and we watch an artist share their gifts and talents, and because of that if we laugh, sing, dance, or cry, we are better for it. That shared experience in a group clears away our anger, our pain, and our prejudices. We are not red or blue, black, or white, religious, or spiritual, we are what we were put here to be: Human. Live entertainment makes us better humans and in present time, we all need to be better humans.

For now, wear your mask, get your shot, buy a ticket, and when you can, come out to a show!!!

Jim Roach is the President and Head Dishwasher at JJR Entertainment,

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