Of course, for many, coming to New Hampshire was also a chance to escape New York.
“I was excited to not have to hear the sirens every day,” Donoso said. “Where we are staying, you can see mountains for miles, so it was serene.”
The actors were also, of course, happy to be working, earning not only a salary but credit toward health insurance, which few are able to do this year. “I feel grateful to be the guinea pigs,” said Marisa Kirby, 32, who is spending her third summer at Weathervane, playing Audrey in “Little Shop” and running the intern program. “We’re lucky.”
They started slow: canceling a few preseason events scheduled in June, then allowing a company of student interns to perform outdoors for children and then indoors for no more than 20 people. (Those performances were streamed, too.)
The professional actors started out streaming musical revues, and then in August, after submitting an 84-page safety plan, they got permission from Equity to stage three fall shows in repertory. It was the theater’s inaugural fall season, which ran through Columbus Day, when the region is laden with leaf peepers.
Plenty of patrons were eager to return. “There was no question but that we would go,” said Lorain Giles, a 69-year-old retired United Church of Christ pastor. She and her husband, Bill, live in Massachusetts, but spend each summer in nearby Lunenberg, Vt., and the Weathervane is a regular part of their routine.
“We refused to live in fear,” she said. “We trusted them, and wanted to to celebrate them being open, and we were just glad to be out among other human beings.”