How Are You Coping? Director David Cecsarini

He’s powering through old episodes of Star Trek while he’s stuck at home.

For‘s series, How Are You Coping, photographer Alexis Gleason is creating portraits via Facetime. “I started this project as a way to connect with people. In the process, I’ve seen that these sessions are giving people a reason to get dolled up for a special occasion—even if its just posing in their living room.”

WE ASKED DAVID CECSARINI, Producing Artistic Director of Next Act Theatre, how he’s spending his time these days. 

Alexis Gleason

What’s work been like for you since Safer at Home began?

We’re closed to the general public. But I’m just about as busy as I’ve always been. 

There’s planning, there’s budgeting for next season. There’s budgeting for this season, to find out where we’re going to end up. There’s applying for funding for The CARES Act.

I’m not in the show that I was going to be in this spring, Nine Circles, but Next Act will be bringing it back in two years. And we’re doing another Bill Caine play, one that’s never been done before. It’s about Daniel Day-Lewis’ last performance in live theater. He was in the National Theatre’s production of Hamlet in 1989, but he had a bit of a meltdown mid-run and decided to quit before the show ended. They had to replace him with another actor. And there’s some disco in the script too, just for the hell of it.

What can we expect from your 2020-21 season lineup?

We’ve got a plan for four productions. The first one opens in late September. But everything is so open-ended right now, it’s been tough to know when to commit fully to the plan. Businesses like ours will be the very, very last to open up again. Sitting close to a bunch of other people in a theater is going to be a tough sell. If all of our 1,200 subscribers come out, we’re going to be looking at a minimum of fifty people per show, and that could be too many to practice any sort of distancing.  

We’re relatively stable for the time being, and we’re nimble. But we’re assuming that we won’t receive as much funding next season, and that could change us fundamentally. 

Has there been any sort of silver lining to the pandemic?

Our patrons have been wonderful. Many, if not most, of the people we’ve called have offered to donate the cost of their tickets to the organization.

How have you been staying busy while you’re spending time at home?

I’ve been catching up on some house projects. And I’ve started walking around while working on memorizing my lines (for the show Christians). It’s about a megachurch. 

I’ve also been revisiting some of the shows I watched in the 1960s and 70s, when I was growing up. I’m working my way through Star Trek right now. I’m up to Picard.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when social distancing ends?

The thing I’ve missed the most is probably the gym. I’m going as soon as it’s safe to do so again.





Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.