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Theatre in the time of plague …
The joke – not sure that’s quite the right word – doing the rounds right now is a reminder that Shakespeare wrote KING LEAR during a plague year; that would be 1605-1606. These horrible outbreaks occurred in England roughly every 20 years across three centuries from the outbreak of the Black Death in the mid-14th century. They devastated the population of England when they struck. The worst plague year was in 1563 – the year before Shakespeare was born. It killed almost a quarter of the population of London. And the point of the ‘joke’ is that we too can create during the worst of times, maybe even turn out a great and enduring work of art. Make no mistake, this is one of those worst of times and yes, art – maybe even great art – will be produced.
We’re grieving so many losses right now and that, for now, is the new normal. So it will be the art of loss and grieving but also of hope and resilience and, eventually, of celebration that will be made. But … where to begin when you’re a maker of that most social of art forms, theatre? Well, right now, stay home, and don’t even think about a social gathering.
This cheery opening is by way of saying Greenroom is back in the business of talking about theatre and maybe even facilitating and encouraging the hell out of the making of that art. We’ve been dark since September 2014, but the ghost light has been put back in the cupboard, the pages dusted, and we’re ready for drop-ins. Please do. I’ll be adding content over the weeks, months … for as long as it’s possible. What exactly that content will be I’m not sure yet, but we’ll find something. We’re creative and there are lots of us and we are connected, right? Guest contributors are going to be welcome.
You could start by checking back on commentary and reviews from 10 years ago. Greenroom started up in 2009 and, at that stage, blogger-reviewers were pretty new to the scene. I still felt a bit of a fake accepting comps for shows, but I was and still am grateful to the companies that generously supported Greenroom during its years of operation. Scattered here and there in some posts there are actual references to local print media and their reviewers. Since then the scene has changed forever. More people (unpaid) are writing and talking online about theatre and its production; the legacy media has gone forever, and we’re now more connected than ever before. Oh, the stinking irony!
I’m going to finish with a shout out to everyone whose names appear in blog posts from 2009 onwards in Greenroom’s pages. So many of you are still here, still working, still creating! That’s worth celebrating and so, on that note, let’s get going …