Interview with Miami New Drama's Michel Hausmann
The desire to create is a defining aspect of humanity. Artists pour their souls into their work which produces impactful products, but can make it all the more devastating when projects cannot be fully realized. Michel Hausmann, Artistic Director at Miami New Drama, felt this pain when his most ambitious project yet was shut down right before opening night. The emotional blow of having to close a show is devastating, but the financial bite can be even worse. Faced with the harsh reality of a pandemic, Michel forced himself to keep a realistic outlook on the situation. While his colleagues were proclaiming this setback would only last a few months, Michel knew that they were in for a longer haul than that. His realism allowed himself to take action. Michel knew that if they waited for the pandemic to end before returning to producing shows, it would be a very long time without theater in the community.
Michel knew what he had to do. He knew he had to find a way to make theater work in a time of social distancing, but how? The idea for the biggest production to occur during the initial shutdown came to him as he walked down Lincoln Road. The street where his theater is located used to be bustling with shoppers weaving in and out of the many storefronts. As he looked at the deserted shops, he had an idea. Michel commissioned different playwrights to write a short show centered on each of the seven deadly sins. These shows were performed by actors in the display cases of the shut down stores. Audiences could wander down the street and witness the show from behind glass. Michel’s creativity and ability to see theater outside of a traditional space allowed theater to flourish in a pandemic.