At the age of 7 years old, I had my first theater performance on the stage of Kiener Plaza downtown. I entered at the top of the park on the Chestnut side of the street, looking around at the gladiator style seating in front of the stage, I felt at ease. The awning was my favorite color, a bright colored red. I saw all the smiling faces around me and I was ready!
I grabbed my brothers hand and began to sing: “We two, we’re friends to the end, ain’t we my friend, we kind of blend together!” We continued our number with a dance, and another song. The crowd began to cheer for us and throw candy from their seats. I was living the dream!
This Kiener Plaza is no longer here. There is something quite different on the corner of Broadway and Pine. The newly remodeled Kiener Plaza is flat and open, giving a clear straight view to the arch. Fountains float throughout the park. It’s filled with grassy patches, a playground, and tile. Food trucks sit on the edge of the park. It’s a thriving tourist attraction. The new park is much more modern than the old one. But what does this mean for our theater community?
Although a stage exists through the park, the open space isn’t quite as intimate as the previous area. You may see and hear the cars passing by. You may not be able to see your audience faces as well as you could with the older design. The lack of inviting colors discouraged me. This new park just blends in. Kiener Plaza has always been a pillar in our community. People come to Kiener Plaza to skate, practice parkour, and mingle with community members.
There are things I do like about the new Kiener Plaza. Seeing the Arch from every angle is very appealing. The food trucks can bring commerce to small businesses and help bring more options to the working class downtown. The street view can help discourage crime in the park. It’s a bright and open. This new Kiener Plaza fits in with a lot of the renovations in the downtown area, like the arch ground, and the upcoming phase two of ballpark village. I have high hopes for this park. It sad to lose the old design but this new style is promising and inviting to tourist. This is what we need as a community.
As far as the theater community goes, it is very appealing to a modern painter or artist. For the performing arts aspect, we must make it our own. I can close my eyes and imagine flash mobs, dance videos, photo shoots, scripted scenes, and more coming from our creative community! We have a new park in town, will it bloom or give us the blues. Check it out this summer in STL!