I applaud and appreciate the effort and generosity of many beloved arts institutions (all currently shuttered) in the midst of this ongoing pandemic crisis to keep audiences entertained and instructed via new platforms-mostly for free, astonishingly!-offering streams of past shows or filmed performances of productions that were scheduled for March or April now sadly unable to be experienced live. Via company website or Facebook or Instagram page, with but a click you are watching a full-length play or dance piece or, even, a virtual art exhibition (my first step into this brave new world was courtesy of Guts Gallery with their show “When Shit Hits the Fan” on Instagram view through 16 April).
The National inaugurates their online viewing this Thursday with One Man, Two Guv’nors; Sadler’s Wells is streaming the Balletboyz’s Deluxe through Friday (comprised of two short works and an introductory overture: Bradley 418, based upon a Kate Tempest track, finds all six troupe members taking on a facet of the central fretful character who awakes in early morning beset by vague unease and anxiety, following him through a performance of masculine authority and confidence and drive as he strides through the day; all facets continually crash and clash, attempting unity but so often collapsing into disharmony, a man incapable of resolving his own contradictions-the second, Ripple, although full of supple, poetic movement mimicking the undulating flow of water, suggesting a peaceful, tranquil state of mind, an apotheosis of agreeability, loses focus and fluidity when veering from group dynamic to more individual concentration); Hampstead Theatre will be releasing a new stream of a past play weekly, each available for seven days, starting with You & I;
Royal Opera House offers Peter and the Wolf via Youtube, to be joined by several other productions throughout April; Tate Britain brings a dance piece (Our Bodies, Our Lives) filmed in their colossal Tanks space, originally meant to be performed as part of the Lates programme; Unicorn Theatre streams Girls Like That, a blistering take on the travails of female adolescence perfect for the teen/tween demographic; the haunting song-cycle Ghost Quartet, which played at SoHo’s new Boulevard Theatre, is available via Youtube; Berlin’s famed Schaubruhne now has many of their productions ready to stream; innovative Belgian performance company Peeping Tom (a frequent guest at London Mime Festival) offers one of their older trilogies; the Royal Court has a theatre/film hybrid of its acclaimed 2016 production Cyprus Avenue with Stephen Rea.
Waiting in the wings is the BBC’s broadcast of the Young Vic’s Wise Children and the Almeida’s Albion on both terrestrial and online channels as part of the Culture in Quarantine platform-and the Globe is set to release titles from the Shakespeare archive. This is but a scant listing of the breadth of choice (some of the more interesting independent choices include the harrowing 5 Soldiers detailing the troubled homecoming of military personnel and Canada’s Le Patin Libra’s Vertical Influences, which seems a madcap, inventive dance on ice-and there are all manner of personal/confessional pieces from such festivals as the Edinburgh and Brighton Fringe and London’s own Vault Festival).
Although nothing can replace the physical interaction with a live artistic work, thank the Gods that the digital sphere can take up the charge in its temporary loss and keep us engaged and in touch-as long as we don’t get complacent.
Below is a link to a helpful Guardian article on all the available choices.