The Last Word: Numbers

In this week’s The Last Word, Kevin reflects on the numbers that are currently very much a part of our lives.
“Numbers in a City: New Haven / 1997 / SML” by See-ming Lee (SML) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

From Episode 22 of Stage Door Live.

At 10:59 yesterday morning, The Abbey Theatre announced that tickets would go on sale for The Great Hunger, a production that was put on hold due to government guidelines. The new guidelines that went into effect Tuesday evening finally made the show possible. At 12 Noon, tickets went on sale. Actually, 12:03, if we’re counting. And we should count.  By 12:10, The Abbey’s allocation of tickets was sold out, and a minimal scattering of tickets was still available on Dublin Theatre Festival’s website.  By 12:20, you could see a random date pop up here and there, probably from people who couldn’t get their payment method to go through in the allotted time. And by 12:30, there was not a single ticket left.

Right now, our sector is about numbers.

188 days. The number of days the Live Events Sector has been closed. 135 Million Euros is the number the National Campaign for the Arts is asking the government to fund Arts Council Ireland for in 2021. NINE – the number of points in EPIC’s pre-budget submission. 89% the percentage of artists struggling with financial uncertainty.

THREE. The number of deaths due to Covid yesterday. 357 the number of new cases yesterday.  TWO – The level of the government’s Plan for Living that Ireland is at right now – and allows up to 50 patrons in pods of up to six in smaller venues where 2 meter social distancing is implemented. Outdoor events can have 100 patrons, but stadiums with a minimum capacity of 5,000 can have 200 patrons. Now if we enter level 3, those numbers drop significantly. Or worse, Level 4 – we are essentially back into a lockdown.

But here in Dublin, we’re in Level 2.5 right now. We can tilt either way.

The excitement of the 10 minute sale of tickets for The Great Hunger, can easily turn to larger numbers of deaths, more restrictions, more waiting.  The excitement of the over 700 events of Culture Night, can quickly turn into zero events, more restrictions, more waiting.

So let’s be smart. Let’s be diligent. Follow the guidelines. Encourage your friends and family not to give up and to continue to follow the guidelines as well.  If we don’t, 188 could easily become 250, or 365 days that our sector is closed.  We’ve got a long road ahead of us, a long road of recovery, but our actions as a sector, as a country, as people, will determine just how long this recovery will take.

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