As a person working in the arts sector, the lockdown was strangely familiar on one level – a lot of actors get stuck in a kind of limbo waiting for someone else to give them permission to do what they are good at. It was as if we were all waiting by the phone for our agent to call. It was also strangely unfamiliar because the community that holds us together, the audiences, as well as the changing of the shows and the new releases, were all put on hold too. The flow between us all was severely affected, and I was both heartened and horrified when it began to surface online. Heartened because the urge to express ourselves and the desire to communicate seems undaunted by anything. Horrified because the worst place to rehearse and perform is alone in the mirror, and sometimes the phone is just a mirror.
It was amazing, though: the opera singers belting it out on their balconies, the dancers doing their solos in their living rooms, the DJs setting up on the verandahs of their apartments. Communication is definitely a need and not a want. And talent has to express itself. That need is like the roots of a tree seeking space and nutrition, and that single cell in the root hair that is the porous gateway between the soil and the plant – that exists in all of us, in our need to communicate and make shared sense. The porous gateway between audience and artist is just that – a two-way street where both seemingly separate worlds are alive together. The pub choir where everyone got on a group Zoom and sang. For themselves? Yes. For each other? Yes. For the uni- verse? Yes. Wonderful space that came alive and thrived and tried to reach across the divide.
That’s just horrible.
I don’t know why – I’m not a good enough writer to know. But it is. Dreadful.
So what has Covid-19 ripped open? The fragility of social space and the robustness of our need to share. The catastrophic misdirection of the past 30 years of economic and social planning (the guiding non-principle being that there is no such thing as society).
Yes, the ideas are shit too.