After a Midsummer Shiver, Provincetown Proceeds With Care

After a Midsummer Shiver, Provincetown Proceeds With Care

“There were no restrictions,” Jeffery Roberson, who plays Varla, marveled one afternoon at the Crown, near the poolside open-air stage that began last year as a pandemic innovation. “It kind of seems crazy now to me. Like, why didn’t we just ease into things?”

His show this year is gleefully funny, but Roberson said he was sorry that I hadn’t gotten to see it performed with live music. His piano player, he said, was out with Covid.

I HAVE LOVED PROVINCETOWN since I was a little tourist kid flocking to the candy store for peanut butter fudge on days too gray for the beach.

Last summer, with so much of the town’s signature liveliness replaced by pandemic quietude, coming here was like visiting a stricken relative. This summer, it’s like seeing them hit a scary bump in what had been an encouraging convalescence — the threat to their wellness not yet vanquished, much as you wish it would be.

From late July into August, I spent over a week in town seeing performances and feeling perfectly safe. I chose shows that were either outside or in indoor spaces that required proof of vaccination, where I kept my mask on even if lowering it to take a drink was allowed. I thought a lot — more than I’d expected — about what sets off alarm bells for me, and what I might regret. No piano bars or karaoke, then, with unmasked people all around; no indoor, vaccine-optional cabaret.

This is not a scare story about Provincetown, whose Covid numbers have dropped as its Covid precautions have risen. What happened here could have happened anywhere that invites the world to visit, as Cape Cod does in the summertime — and as New York and other big cities do year-round in ordinary times.

The frightening part of this story is that Provincetown’s charming little ecosystem of restaurants, inns and performance spaces is a microcosm of the precarious ecosystems of dining, travel and live entertainment that exist elsewhere. During my visit, as usually packed parking lots failed to fill and businesses took what the weekly Provincetown Independent called “a nosedive,” I saw a community waiting worriedly for the customers its economy relies on to return en masse.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *