𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗢𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗗𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗 𝗣𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗰
Mirage Entertainment was about to open a new stunt show, “Newbie Agent” at Discovery Kingdom theme park in Dalian, China. The opening date was set for March 27, 2020. But Director of Operations, Joe Torrey, faced a unique challenge: How to mount a show under COVID 19 restrictions?
Some of the necessary precautions were pretty straightforward. The performance group had to be kept isolated from other park employees as much as possible, everybody had to wear a mask, and all crew members had their temperature checked regularly. Also, meals had to be brought into the venue, so as to avoid the common cafeteria, where the whole park staff usually ate.
Other precautions would require more thought and effort. For example, more local performers had to be hired due to travel restrictions on foreigners entering the country. This required a workaround from the usual Mirage auditioning and casting procedures. Also, a more physical acting style (which relied less on facial expressions) had to be adopted by the performers, due to the masks that obscured their faces. Of course, all rules and conditions had to be carefully arranged and communicated with the park, so that everybody was on the same page.
In the end, however, everything paid off. Mirage Entertainment’s reputation made it relatively easy to recruit new actors and crews from the local population. The show opened a month late (on April 24, 2020), but it was still one of the first in the industry to go on (which was seen by the park as a success). Attendance levels were just slightly down from usual and audiences were appreciative.
According to Mr. Torrey, “the cast and crew worked as a team. We became almost like a family. When everything is said and done, it is the teamwork that gets a production through a challenging situation like this.”