The Idaho Shakespeare Festival has officially cancelled the remaining play of its 2020 season.
"With COVID-19 sharply on the rise, cases in Boise are as high as when we cancelled Much Ado About Nothing and Ain't Misbehavin' in April," wrote Producing Artistic Director Charles Fee and Managing Director Mark Hofflund in a statement on social media. "Tempest-tossed again, the safety of our audience, cast, crew, and community is an ever-fixed star. It does not alter when it alteration finds; and, indeed, remains uppermost in thought."
Early in the pandemic, ISF had hoped to be able to stage its plays, albeit with a delayed opening date, accommodations made for social distancing and other public health measures. Speaking with Boise Weekly for this week's issue, Fee said he was still optimistic that the company would be able to stage its last play of the season, Sleuth, by Anthony Shaffer.
The COVID-19 crisis, however, has intensified in recent days. On June 25, Gov. Brad Little announced that Idaho would remain in Stage IV of its phased economic reopening for an additional two weeks, and Ada County has regressed to Stage III of its own reopening as cases of the deadly disease spiked in southwestern Idaho. On July 2, Mayor Lauren McLean signed an order mandating that people wear face masks while in indoor and outdoor public places.
That same day, ISF cancelled its production of Sleuth, and outlined a process by which it would serve people with tickets to 2020 season shows.
Other performing arts organizations are in similar straits. Boise Little Theater has floated the idea of fogging its facilities with a disinfecting solution, asking patrons to wear face masks and making hand sanitizer readily available. At Boise Contemporary Theater, however, the coronavirus has resulted in the cancellation of its season and the furlough of four of its six staff members.