Charlie (a director) and Jeff (actor and writer) married last spring. Charlie is a workaholic and has spent the last year wishing she could be home more, enjoying married life. Well, her wish has come true, and she can only begin to imagine how wonderful all the precious time they are going to have together on lockdown will be… So, having already run out of things to talk to each other about, they are having a go at writing this blog; their first-ever joint venture, to kill some of that precious, precious, time.
It’s early. I’m sat on an old armchair I’ve draped a blanket over, with a lurcher’s bony paws on my shoulders and heavy lap on my thighs, doing everything he can to stop me typing. This time last week, I was lying in before getting up to teach and rehearse. Now, I’m lucky if Scooter lets me get through a Zoom meeting without coming over to remind me of my priorities. Although if we’re comparing times, a little over a month ago, I was getting up to catch an early train to London, enjoy my daily Pret breakfast (devastated when they got rid of their egg-and-bean pots) before meeting the producers of a new show I’m directing was supposed to be directing at the Park in June.
Oh, we’re doing a retrospect are we? OK: Looking back, the first 4 weeks of lockdown seem equally as eventful as uneventful. I went to the Isle of Wight for a funeral just before everything stopped, and even ate lunch with my mother in a pub just a few hours before that pub, and all others, were ordered to shut and not reopen. I travelled home to Margate the following day, and as Charlie was already self-isolating, that was it.
By the time I was en route home the night theatres shut, I’d fired off emails to producer friends offering to work remotely if they had anything that needed doing (Hello Desperation), had put a few posts up on social media about piano teaching, and applied for two remote drama teaching jobs. By the end of day one I had 4 piano students booked in and committed to directing a two-hander to premiere online as well as a monologue to stream on Twitter. The trouble was by day two, I had no inclination to do anything.
Friends, I’d love you to support two projects I’ve directed that are live streaming today! The Ultimatum Game by @JonGracey is at 5pm on https://t.co/7sq3P4EdJy & Oranges & Lemons by @LucyENichol is part of a series of monologues from 7pm live at @ClubCoronavirus #newadventure pic.twitter.com/L0i39NGNES
— Charlotte Peters (@CharlottePeterz) April 5, 2020
Still looking back? Sure, I can do self-indulgent. We only moved to Margate at the end of January, so I am immensely grateful that rather than cohabiting in a one-bed East London flat, we now have a far bigger semi-detached house with a garden. Things are obviously difficult, but now, when we annoy each other, one of us can sulk off to a room that isn’t the bedroom! Or into the garden….or hot tub…or *cough* bar which used to be the garage… Yeah, I hate us too.
Having packed my week into looking at a screen for 8 hours each day, be it for rehearsals, lessons or meetings, I tried to make the most of the routine. Being able to briefly turn off your video to get that bit of brekkie out your teeth is useful, as is muting to make a cuppa, but I had underestimated how much my brain would not enjoy concentrating on a screen for hours on end. I am fully aware that a good percentage of the population does this daily. Hats off. By the end of the week, I was proud of the two pieces that had aired but bloody hell was I tired. And grumpy. And mourning the loss of four projects and feeling really gutted for the two incredible touring companies I was working with who’d been sent home.
Oh, we are talking work now, are we? I can dance to that tune. So, at the start of all this, my show Potted Potter was playing in Las Vegas and New Zealand. Obviously neither have played for weeks now, which is so sad for all of us, but what is even sadder for me personally is that Dan (Clarkson; co-creator) and I were meant to be taking the show to Hawaii for a week this Summer. I know it’s not a wedding/funeral/landmark birthday, but it is still a bitter pill to swallow that instead of sipping goodness-knows-what out of a coconut, I’ll be visiting a non-essential shop in Kent. As long as I observe social-distancing.
I did not drink yesterday.
I did not drink today
This is what a modern day achievement looks like.
— Jefferson Turner (@ActorJeff) April 8, 2020
I see your Hawaii and raise you Singapore, where I was supposed to be right now, working on a relaxed performance catching up with our lovely company and hanging out with my bestie who lives out there.
I am not convinced that Singapore trumps Hawaii.
Okay let’s not compete for lost opportunities. And of course, we’re beyond aware that within our bubble these things may be rubbish but that life is way more problematic for the tens of thousand of front-line workers and those really poorly and/or grieving lost ones. Nonetheless, I’ll allow ourselves myself a little sadness too, not to mention frustration given it seems I, like many others, apparently fall outside of the government help. And feel immensely guilty applying for funding. But we’ll save that for another blog.
Whereas I have been furloughed. In fact, as I operate as a Limited Company, I have the fun of filling out a form, furloughing myself. Along with the accompanying phone call, apologising to myself, and saying I wish there was some other solution. This obviously means that I am not earning any money – which means I had to refuse the hugely generous fee I was offered to contribute to this blog.
Wait, what?… Oh.
As for the day to day, up until now, I think I have been the same as a lot of other people. Running to try and counteract ALL the eating and drinking I have been doing. I am writing this on Thursday, and am thus far dry and eating clean this week, to try and counteract last week’s debauchery. I can envisage the dryness probably won’t last all the way to the weekend (whatever a weekend is) as I’ll probably need to escape to the bar, put on some Golden Oldies, and throw some darts at some point. Yep; utterly, utterly hateful.
This is our new friend Scooter. He needed a foster home. We are very excited it got to be ours. He is a total goofball so fits into this family pretty well. #twitterdogs #puppy #lurcher #dogfostering #tagrescuecentre pic.twitter.com/zItth1SPUl
— Charlotte Peters (@CharlottePeterz) April 16, 2020