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The City Journals

Parker Theatre brings back live theatre with ‘Corona Conundrum’

May 14, 2020 03:27PM ● By Bill Hardesty

The Parker Theatre is preparing for the opening of “Corona Conundrum” by ensuring 6-feet social distancing. (Courtesy of Parker Theatre)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

One theatre is breaking the ice by bringing live theatre back to South Salt Lake with the opening of an original comedy show on May 15 at the Parker Theatre (3605 S. State St.).

James Parker, the executive director, and the Parker Theatre Company has designed a way for the audience to return in a contactless environment.

“I really believe people will feel safe. Maybe even more than going to the grocery store,” Parker said.

I’m so excited to open the doors to our beautiful theatre safely. We miss our audiences and so we’ve adapted to the conditions safely so we can have a wonderful laugh,” Joanne Parker, the artistic director, added.

Contactless theatre

The contactless experience begins with buying tickets online ( or calling the box office at 801-532-6000.

The lobby is divided into a coming and a going section. When patrons arrive at the theatre, the front door will be open. While maintaining social distancing, patrons will work their way to the box office where they will give their name. There are no playbills.

Each patron group will be ushered to their assigned seats before another group comes in.

They have designed a four-person seating chart which provides 6 feet around each group. The chart is flexible based on the size of the group. A sign with the patron's name on it will indicate their seats.

There won’t be any people crossing in front of others, since each group will enter from separate sides. Patrons are also asked to wear a mask during the play.

After the 40-minute play, patrons are dismissed row by row again allowing social distancing while leaving the theater.

Water will be available at the snack bar because the water fountain is turned off. The only bathrooms available are the family restrooms. Patrons are encouraged to take care of such matters before arriving, if possible.

“We are doing everything we have been asked to do. We are obeying all guidelines,” James said.

‘Corona Conundrum’

The play is a rapid-fire style of comedy for the whole family.

“It is sketch comedy like ‘Saturday Night Live’ or the old ‘Laugh-In’ show,” James said.

In a news release the show is described as “‘Corona Conundrum’ follows the lives of very average people trying their best to thrive in very unaverage times. From the woes of dating during a time of social distancing, to the struggle of never knowing if you will find toilet paper when you most need it.”

“They say art imitates life. And boy, what a crazy life we’re imitating. ‘Corona Conundrum’ is an absurd take on daily life in lockdown. It’s funny because it’s true,” said actor Meighan Smith.

Even the actors on stage will obey social distancing guidelines.

“I’m excited to act on stage again, no matter how many feet away my scene partner is,” Lexie Thomsen, another actor, said.

Currently, “Corona Conundrum” is scheduled for a two-week run. Additional showings will be added based on audience demand.

The show opens on May 15 with shows at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, shows will be at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.

Tickets are $17 which include a $5 donation or $12 without the donation.

“Our theatre is here to bring you much needed comedic relief. We thrive off your happiness. Also, please donate…corona hates theatre,” James said.