As the new year unfolds, I can’t help but consider the further uncertainty of 2021. As hopeful as I and many others are about the vaccine bringing an end to this pandemic, I must acknowledge that, at least for a portion of this year, everyday life will remain at a halt. For lovers of the arts, this means wondering when Broadway will once again open its doors, when concerts resume, when dance finally takes place, etc. If you’re like me, you check the Tony’s page every day to see if they’ve announced a date. The answer, alas, is always no.
But when life slows down, the ability to learn deeply often presents itself. In 2020, as I spent countless hours indoors by myself, I had more time to read, watch, listen, and think. I consumed an exponentially larger amount of significant film, literature, and theater, all from the comfort of my own couch. I found peace in utilizing my extra time to explore further the arts I love so dearly. As the uncertainty continues, I decided to craft a sort of “arts resolution list” for 2021.
In this list, I delineate various tasks to help further my education in the arts, whether it’s a film I’ve been meaning to watch or an artist I’ve been meaning to learn more about, I believe this list will provide me with an escape from the anxiety of the current climate. Perhaps this list will serve as inspiration for your new year as well. By 2022, we will have improved our literacy in the performing arts together. What better way to continue to celebrate art when it often seems to have stopped?
- Watch an unfamiliar Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and Martin Scorsese film.
- Listen to all of Beethoven’s symphonies in full.
- Watch an unfamiliar Shakespearean tragedy, comedy, and history (see BBC, Shakespeare Globe, and film versions available for streaming)!
- Listen to an unfamiliar Sondheim musical theatre album.
- Read a Eugene O’Neill script.
- Read a Henrik Ibsen script.
- Familiarize yourself with a new composer.
- Familiarize yourself with a new playwright.
- Watch a film Roger Ebert gave a great review
- Watch a film Roger Ebert controversially disliked (see his famous dislikes Blue Velvet or The Usual Suspects).
- Listen to an unfamiliar Tony-nominated musical theater album from the past five years.
- Attend a classical live-streamed concert (classicfm.com is a great resource for discovering upcoming performances)!
- Find a new beloved album from Rolling Stones’ Top 500 list.
- Watch an unfamiliar opera.
- Attend a live-streamed dance performance.
I want to stress this: there should be no added pressure on productivity in unprecedented times like these. If all you can do is survive the day, that is enough. But if you love the performing arts, perhaps this list will bring you joy and increase your appreciation for extra time.
Fifteen goals. Twelve months. I wholeheartedly hope this list is left incomplete due to theaters reopening, concerts resuming, and live performing arts flourishing. But until then, we can continue to celebrate the arts in our own homes, and I’m thankful for this ability every single day.