President’s Blog April 2020

Well, we’ve moved into April, and I must ask – did anyone else feel like March had 60 days? And with all that spare time, did anyone else still not complete their taxes yet?

I hope this opening greeting made you smile, as it was intended to do. Diversionary humor and bad jokes are my go-to in moments such as these. As Miss Scarlet says in the film version of Clue, “It’s my defense mechanism.” (She also said, “Communism is just a red herring,” but that seemed less important.)

A short time ago, we closed a star-studded production of Waiting in the Wings; we cast a rollicking funny gang for The Real Inspector Hound; and we prepared diligently for Cabaret. The board of directors held its monthly meeting in early March, and we felt confident that we had a plan in place for anything that might arise.

Cast of Waiting in the Wings

In retrospect, no plan could have been suitable for our current state of affairs. Within a week of our board meeting, we made the difficult decision that many others in the arts community reached around that same time – that we would postpone all future in-person activities for the time being. We were “going dark” at Pull-Tight in an effort to help stem the tide and flatten the curve, in response to mounting worries about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let it be clear – our goal has always been to postpone. We will be back, and we’ll be as strong and as dominant a force as ever.

Until that time arrives, though, we’ve been in talks as to how best to appropriate our availability and our resources for the public. We are performers at heart; when we can’t bring a little light and levity into your lives, we feel drained ourselves, and that certainly won’t do. Given that we can’t provide you a show onstage, here’s what we hope to do in the interim, in order to help keep us all interconnected:

1) Meet a Pull-Tight Player! We look forward to providing you with a snippet or two of integral players in our Pull-Tight family, answering questions and providing insight as to their “private lives” (thanks, Noël Coward!) and their onstage personas. Look for videos posted to our social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

2) What’s happening in the wide world of theatre and the arts? Now is a good time to explore other forms of artistic expression happening around the world. If you see something of interest, give us a shout! We’d love to update this regularly with items to keep our patrons entertained and engaged. As these come in you can access them HERE.

3) Our resident photographer and fantastic board member Jeanne Drone recently added a slideshow of headshots on our Facebook page, allowing visitors to take a trip down memory lane. We hope to continue features such as these to provide a respite or a brief escape to a simpler time from our company’s past. This is also a great time to watch our 50th Anniversary video, 50 Years a Treasure by filmmaker Tom Gregg if you have not already done so. The original DVD included oral histories of 28 of our members. Click HERE for more information.

And please don’t think we’re resting on our laurels! Here’s what we’ve been doing behind the scenes, to make sure that we are ready to go whenever possible and to hit the ground running:

Tom Gregg and the dedicated cast and crew of The Real Inspector Hound continue to practice lines and maintain that feisty, farcical chemistry via weekly videoconferences.

Our Playreading Committee, chaired by the indescribably talented Jennifer Bennett, has gotten a jump start perusing plays and musicals for our 2021-2022 season.

Dan Kassis and Beth Woodruff continue their amazing work as banquet co-chairs, strategizing contingency plan after contingency plan, even in the face of uncertainty.

And finally, here are some final “business-y” items to address regarding important Pull-Tight events:

  • The annual in-person artist membership meeting, scheduled for Sunday, May 3rd, has been canceled. We hope to reschedule the membership meeting to a date that falls before the end of June.
  • However, ballots for Board of Directors nominees, Player of the Year, and Pull-Tight Hall of Fame have been mailed to all those who have earned voting rights for 2019-2020. Thanks to Pat Street for spearheading this effort! To check your own voting status, click HERE (read info and then click link near the bottom of the page to check your own status). Ballots must be returned via snail mail by April 27th.
  • The Pull-Tight Banquet and Knot Awards are slated for Saturday, June 27th, 2020, at the Cool Springs Marriott. As of this moment in time, we are proceeding with that date; however, given the fluidity of events in the nation, arrangements are subject to change.

It’s hard to know where to go with the conclusion of this blog, just as it’s hard to know where things are going in this unprecedented situation we all find ourselves facing. I know it has not been easy, but these are the times in which we band together, where we all pull tight and see each other safely through to the other side. If you need anything, reach out. Send me a message. Offer to do my taxes. I’ll be here, hoping to hear from you. Pull Tight, y’all.

Matt Grimes
President, Pull-Tight Players Board of Directors
james.m.grimes@vanderbilt.edu