I try to think about the extent of the business with this virus and it makes my head hurt. The amount of work that has stopped. The way in which, in London, this quarantine situation has become normalised already. There’s tape on the floor of the shop, telling us where we stand. Most people are in masks. We keep distance from each other. And yet we talk. I’ve had more conversations with strangers than usual, even just in the corridors of my block.
I guess it’s because we are all sharing this unusual circumstance – pretty much worldwide. Everybody is at home most of the time. We are adopting new technological means to play with each other remotely even as we are all getting either starved of contact or fed up of each other. Part of me is glad to be alone here. Although it does engender bad habits. I had a load of early “zoom” meetings from two companies both of whom are using the software to do something Shakespearean. I’m starting to think about the new mediums as opportunities. Zoom is a good bit of software for talking in large groups, but how do we use it to tell stories? And for how long will we need to be thinking like this? Turns out if I take a picture off the wall then I’ve got a good greenscreen. So I’ve learnt something useful.
It seems ages since I’ve been in a crowd. I was being careful for a while before it was official. But now I’m wondering when and how this will end. Bearing in mind what I witnessed yesterday, that there are people with full blown symptoms who still pop to the shop, this quarantine cannot contain it. Does summer kill it? Or are we just locked in until they perfect the vaccine?
Still, this morning about twenty of us logged into zoom and tried to read Shakespeare in a group. We were originally building towards a show in Wales in summer, but the feeling is that it won’t happen now. But if all the theatres lose their summer season, will that be it? So many arts institutions are hanging by a thread anyway.
It’ll be a new world at the end of this. And the thing to remember is that it’s global. I’ve been talking with friends in Eastern Europe, deep far north and west coast USA. We are all asking the same questions. In the absence of a precedent, what do we hope for?
Boris has been diagnosed. Ditto the heir to the throne. They’ve been able to get tests. More of my friends on Facebook are documenting their symptoms and I can tell you for sure that I don’t want it. It sounds miserable, even though none of them have had an official test. Most people can’t get tests. We just have to stay clean and hope we don’t catch it at peak, when there’ll be no beds and no ventilators.
I’m off to bed after a very unusual Friday spent almost entirely looking at faces on screens. My head hurts but that’s because I had a bit too much to drink a bit too early. Hopefully there’ll be clarity before long… But how?