In this time of quarantine and social distancing, some top performers are taking their acts off the stage, out from under the lights, and putting them online to help cheer a world troubled by the uncertainty that comes with life in a global pandemic.
Recently, Samantha Pauly and Brittney Mack, two stars in the ensemble cast of the Broadway show, Six, have taken their talents to social media. Pauly told the Associated Press the idea evolved from her wanting to keep her vocal chops in tune by singing every day. Then she decided to broadcast her practices, part to cheer people up and part, she said, to “keep my own sanity.”
For Mack, Pauly, and other members of the cast of Six, these efforts are also cathartic, as their show was just about to debut when Broadway called the curtain indefinitely. They never got to perform, so now they are sharing their talents any way they can.
And they’re not alone. When the lights of Broadway went dark as a result of COVID-19, many creators and performers chose to keep the show going. Playwrights Young Jean Lee and Lauren Gunderson began teaching writing online, to help people pass the time doing something creative, and choreographers are teaching dance steps to keep people active and having fun, even if they are stuck inside.
And, from the cast of Hamilton to the cast of Come From Away, others have put their talents to good use by offering gratitude to medical personnel, first responders, and others who are working, facing the virus every day, while many are staying home.
In leading by example, sharing their gifts and talents, these performers are not only serving as excellent ambassadors for their shows and their groups, but also the arts as a whole. There have been many in this time who are highlighting the importance of the arts when people need joy and hope. And, while those messages have been mostly well-received, it’s generally more effective to just give people the joy and let them process their own appreciation for it.
This is the difference between forcing a message on people when they were not expecting it and offering a narrative to people who are fully engaged and appreciative. The lesson being that audiences are much more receptive when the connection happens, and the relationship dynamic is a two-way street. When they feel appreciated and important, when they feel something has been offered to them that they were looking for, they are much more receptive to any message.
This dynamic offers a clear, real-world example of “good” communication and “better” communication. When a brand’s message is delivered with no preamble, no effort at connection, and nothing specific for that audience, sure, it can be effective. However, messaging is much more compelling when trust and connection are already present.