Theatre in the time of corona
It goes against every instinct of a theatre maker.
To not be in a rehearsal room. To not flock to the chaiwala for endless cups of tea. To not be in crowded markets scouring for the perfect prop. To not be front of house, meeting the audience members and ushering them in. To not huddle at first bell and make sure we hug each and every member of the company and whisper "break a leg". To not be in tiny cramped spaces backstage juggling trays of fake whiskey and intricate costume changes. To not end up at midnight at a local eatery sharing kebab rolls and khichdi and beer.
Theatre is about a 'shared' space. Its very definition relies on a communal experience. So, "please switch ON your mobile phones and other devices." Get creative with our time and talent. Here are some theatre experiences we can access from the comfort of our homes.
Theatre is about empathy, too. Empathy for those who don't have the luxury of the space required for isolation. For those who are struggling now and will after, to survive the financial fallout. For the next generation that will inherit the fear and paranoia.
It falls on artists and dancers and musicians and story-tellers to create alternate worlds from the past and the future where we associate springtime with the shade of green of a new born leaf, and not rising temperatures for the virus to disappear. So, let's do our bit and help others with our time, money and stories. (There are multiple initiatives to help resources reach those in need. Click on that link, make a difference.)
Lastly, theatre is about hope. The show 'will' go on.
While it may seem that it is the end of the world as we know it, a refreshed one will emerge. One in which we are acutely aware of the need and importance of shared experiences and empathy and hope. Where theatre will once again bring people TOGETHER.
Happy World Theatre Day. Do read Sudhanva's beautiful message on this occasion and be inspired to stay strong, stay creative!