- 危機に瀕(ひん)した（後出 in deadly peril は致命的な危機に瀕して）
- (be) idled
- in drag
- West End
- to the ... tunes
- fairy-tale plot
- bring down the curtain
- COVID-19 ... measures
As much of Britain's economy emerged from the coronavirus lockdown, its theaters stayed dark, with performers and staff unwillingly idled. So they made a song and dance about it.
A number of actors, technicians and theater workers led by pantomime dames — male actors in fabulously eccentric drag — marched through London's West End to Parliament to the beat of show tunes on Sept. 30, asking the government for a plan to bring theaters back to life. The demonstrators were highlighting the prospect of a dark Christmas season without the hundreds of pantomimes usually staged across the U.K.
Pantomimes — a raucous blend of fairy-tale plots, topical references, slapstick, song, dance and innuendo — are as much a part of the British holiday season as turkey and presents.
The theater "is one of our greatest cultural assets," said actor Tim Hudson. "It's in deadly peril at the moment."
The coronavirus pandemic brought down the curtains at Britain's theaters overnight in March. A few are tentatively beginning to reopen, with reduced capacity and at a financial loss. But rising coronavirus infections and the threat of new local lockdowns threaten even this fragile recovery.
When Britain went into lockdown, the government started to pay the wages of furloughed employees. But most people working in the theater are freelance and did not qualify. Another program was set up for the self-employed, but actors' union Equity said almost half of its members had not received any support.
"We need the government to take notice that we are a vital part of the economy," Helen Clarkson, a stage manager, said.
For now, theaters can operate if they can implement "COVID-19 secure" measures such as social distancing. That is both financially unviable and physically difficult in London's largely Victorian theaters.
"It's impossible to open the big shows — you can't social distance onstage," co-owner of Nimax Theatres Nica Burns said. (AP)
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