The Culture Whisper Editor in Chief reflecting on the past eight weeks we spent online and missing live performances
I have been chatting with friends from my doorstep, watching locals play tennis in the park and am beginning to consider investing in a bicycle. Gone is my desire for cashmere loungewear and boardgames.
By now, I have managed to watch a few plays online, gobbled up three seasons of Ozark and been enthralled by Unorthodox. I have conducted my first video interview for Culture Whisper and connected with the influencers on Instagram whose feeds fill me with envy. I have enrolled in an online yoga class (thank you, Adriene) and cut my fringe. But I almost lost the love of my sons by shortening their hair beyond short-term repair.
And then last week the weather turned cooler, and I caved in and dared to ask myself the forbidden question: what’s next? How many more digital plays can I watch? How many more series can I binge? How much can I really learn from an online drawing class, sitting alone at my desk? When will I be able to gather with friends and discuss books? Our virtual book club is forever cancelled as none of my friends wants to spend yet another hour on Zoom in the evening. I have to admit it: I crave real-life, museum spaces, theatre evenings, live creativity.
Last week, the Artistic Director of The Old Vic, Matthew Warchus, shared his worries about the future of his theatre. He reminded us that experiencing live theatre has a 'significant healing power' and can play a vital role in boosting mental health and enabling empathy.
In the past eight weeks, my online life has been a very individualistic experience. And as much as I love introspection, I am in great need of shared emotions and live performance. I have just registered to take part in an exciting project, for your ears only, a short rendez-vous on the phone with an actor who reads you a text of literature, poetry or theatre, chosen specially for you.
Meanwhile, the boys, my husband and I now have a movie rota. One of us picks up a film for the evening, and everyone sits down to watch it together. We have had to put up with a variety of movies and tastes. It’s taken me out of my comfort zone, made me realise how grown up my boys have become, and how pleasurable it is to share what makes us tick. It has triggered conversations and heated arguments and brought back a semblance of culture for real.