An intergenerational Zoom call, the shock of a loved one testing positive and the determination of a frontline worker, “The Coronavirus Chronicles” includes 14 short plays, sketches and monologues spanning the gamut of experiences in a country where people are notoriously private.
“Most of it occurred during the lockdown, that’s when I started writing,” Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Adams, an English teacher at the ISL who initiated the project, told Delano. She began writing after seeing a call for radio play submissions on the BBC. Remote teaching gave a her a little more time to write, and she soon had friends and colleagues contributing sketches and monologues or wrote texts inspired by what other people told her about their own experiences.
To have a broad representation, she actively sought out people, for example a student whose parent worked in the health sector.
“Some of it was the pathos and humour of families being locked up together and trying to get along. Some of it was tragic, people being people. Some of it was just the stories, trying to communicate via video messaging, and some was trying to get food and toilet paper,” she said, adding: “Everything from real tragedy to real humour. I think it was the variety that made them work together.”
A pandemic-proof performance
The American national, who lived in the US and Ethiopia before moving to Luxembourg ten years ago, is an avid writer and performer who has previously penned drama, fiction and essays.
With the help of Tony Kingston, director for theatre troupe the BGT, Adams pieced together a poignant and humourous show. It was due to be performed at the Kinoler theatre in Kahler from 26-28 November but has beeen postponed to January 2021 because of health measures.
Some of the writers, including Adams, will perform in their own plays. “This time I’m playing a 90-year-old. I’m 63, not quite 90. But I like playing character parts,” Adam confided.
At the time of writing, regions of neighbouring countries were strengthening measures to curb the spread of the virus. Adams is not concerned that Luxembourg will ban public performances, though she’d much rather deliver a live performance. “It’s quite possible, if something happens, we could do it on Zoom. Two of the plays are in fact Zoom calls. That would work well and they are simple enough. We will see what happens with the pandemic.”
Other contributors include Ester Cela, Ferelith Kingston, Cassandra Köhler, Gracie Savage, Luca Schmit, Josie Shillito and Concepcion Zubizerreta. The show is directed by Tony and Ferelith Kingston.
Catch “The Coronavirus Chronicles” at Kinoler theatre in Kahler from 21-23 January 2021 at 7:30pm and on 23 January at 2:30pm and 7:30pm. All proceeds from ticket sales go to the Covid-19 Foundation. Reserve your seats by emailing [email protected]. Anyone who has already booked will receive priority booking for the new dates.
*Article amended on 9 November as the show may be postponed until January in light of the high infection rate in Luxembourg.