The coronavirus has changed a lot about how we interact with one another. Most countries around the world are observing social distancing — banning large gatherings and keeping a distance of about two metres (six feet) in public.
For a social species like us, this presents a bit of a problem. And for the entertainment industry — movie theatres, musicians, and live performers — it presents a really big problem. How do you do your thing if no one can come see you perform?
The internet has helped. Just as online group chats let us catch up with our friends and family, many performers and theatres are offering HD streaming to audiences around the world. But the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre in Russia is taking things one step further.
No large audiences, you say? Well, that doesn't mean we can't have a show.
The Perm Theatre is using the COVID-19 rules to try out a very cool experiment. They call it One on One.
Last week, they began accepting applications from the public to be entered into a lottery to be a single audience member for one of the company's performances. Each winner will get to be all alone inside the 850-seat theatre to see some of the world's most well-known operas and ballets. A top quality private performance!
A rich history
And to be clear, this is no average theatre. It's at the centre of Russian culture.
The city of Perm is located over 1,000 kilometres outside Russia's capital, Moscow, but the Perm Theatre is one of the best in the country. Its ballet company is one of the best in the entire world. It is one of Russia's oldest theatres and is deeply connected to the country's most famous composer, Pytor Tchaikovsky.
Tchaikovsky wrote 10 operas and 3 ballets, including Swan Lake and the holiday favourite The Nutcracker. These are all a part of the Perm Theatre's repertoire.
The show must go on
For now, Puccini's classic opera La Bohème is scheduled to be the first One on One performance. In addition to the lucky winner for the night, the performance will be streamed live for anyone to see online.
The operators of the Perm still have to iron out a few details, including constant testing of the performers themselves to be sure that they are safe and healthy as well.
We're inspired by this theatre's desire to turn a time of crisis into the chance of a lifetime. What a great idea, right?