The figure fell, strangely familiar: fifty. From March 22, theaters, concert halls and Swiss cinema should be able to accommodate 50 people – provided that the measure passes the ramp of the cantons and is accompanied by a stabilization of contamination. A reopening framed, unsurprisingly, by strict rules: seating and wearing a mask, spectators placed 1.5 meters away or separated by a seat, limit set at one third of the room’s capacity.
Within cultural circles, reactions are mixed, between joy in welcoming the public once again, resignation and frustration. “To accommodate 50 people, you have to have at least 150 seats,” regrets Xavier Pattaroni, president of the Association of French-speaking cinemas and operator in Friborg, Bulle and Payerne. With the addition of a lack of great films, profitability will be impossible. In view of what is happening in France, Germany and Italy, and the cases which go back up, I am even afraid that after consultation the Federal Council deems this opening hasty. Will we soon have to lower the gauge to 15 people or close a third time? We do not know if we are going towards the beautiful or a new pejoration, the message remains anxious. But it’s Easter, you shouldn’t expect a Christmas present. ”
“Like an empty room”
As for theaters, the news is good for small structures like the Poche in Geneva, less for certain large French-speaking rooms, like the Théâtre du Crochetan in Monthey, with its 740 seats. “It is not worth the trouble for us to reopen,” explains Lorenzo Malaguerra, director of the Valais institution. Playing in front of such a sparse audience is like playing in front of an empty room. There is no possible communion between the actors and the audience. I would have preferred to have been told that the season was over, so that we could restart at the end of the summer, hoping that by then a large part of the population would be vaccinated. ”
Defeatist, the artist? “Unfortunately, I am a realist,” continues the director. And I am not telling you this out of heart. We’ve been closed for a year. People have lost the habit of going to the theater. Our fight will be to make them want again. ” For this, Lorenzo Malaguerra plans, at the beginning of September, a Antigone in the open air, with actress Noémie Schmidt in the title role. Sophocles to drive away the miasmas of fear.
At the Comédie de Genève too, we prefer to remain cautious. “The situation in reality is not that much better than before, except for the small structures. The large venues, which receive little support from the public authorities, depend on the ticket office. For them, today’s announcement does not change anything. La Comédie is fortunate to be subsidized. Our activity in recent months has not weakened. We have created all the planned shows. The downside is that they are in the fridge and you still don’t know when you can play them. So let’s hope this announcement is the start of a new chapter. But it is difficult to have confidence in a government that does not wish to measure the societal stake of culture. ”
Elsewhere, the bustle of live prevails over everything else. “That’s it, we can start proposing things again: I’ve been in post for five months and I haven’t had a single opportunity to rub shoulders with the public, rejoices Antoine Minne, programmer of the Post Tenebras Rock association. , in Geneva. Fifty is already that! ”
Concerts at the Factory, seated and masked: the prospect does not worry Antoine Minne. “The conditions will be close to those of a hospital, but even sitting for an hour, we know that people have fun. Some even want to party, loud music! ” And why not outside, where 150 people could gather? “There is a beautiful square in front of the Factory, but we would have to be supported by the city to set up a security perimeter. If we put sound outside, it will inevitably cause a crowd. ” Without waiting any longer, Antoine Minne takes out his cell phone to recontact agents and artists. The next concert, he would like it as soon as possible.