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‘Catalyst Sessions’ recap: Matthew McGee

Bill DeYoung



It was an uncharacteristically serious Matthew McGee in the interview chair on Monday’s edition of The Catalyst Sessions. Although the well-loved comic actor, singer and drag performer talked wistfully about the day live theater returns to Tampa Bay and to the world, as it most certainly will, he spent a good portion of the interview puzzling over the state of the country, the double-edged sword of social media, and how social distancing and mask-wearing have become politicized. Getting far from the real issue.

“If we can all get back to work by wearing a mask,” he said, “why would everybody not do that? But admonishing people for not doing it is not going to make anybody want to do it. So it’s a strange time that we’re in.”

Theater, of course, requires a group of people gathered together, both in the audience and in the company, where things get pretty tight backstage. Will the theater universe ever return to normal, he wondered, and what will that normal look like?

The Community Outreach and Marketing Director of freeFall Theatre stopped himself at one point. “I didn’t want to get philosophical or political in this conversation, because I think most people know where I stand politically without heaving to delve too deep into that.

“A lot of things have been sacrificed right now, a lot of things may go under, and I hope at the end that we are able to salvage some of the things that made life so worth living – and that’s the arts.”

On March 26, McGee was the guest on the second—ever Catalyst Sessions. Three months with no live performances have caused him, like so many other bay area theater thespians, to veer wildly between hope, fear and anxiety.

Oh, he did smile and laugh a few times, by the way.

Today on The Catalyst Sessions: Soprano Susan Hellman Spatafora; streaming on the Catalyst Facebook page at 7 p.m.

All Catalyst Sessions episodes are archived on our YouTube page.

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