Chronicle.lu recently got the opportunity to talk with Tony and Ferelith Kingston, the father-daughter team directing the upcoming show the “Coronavirus Chronicles”; originally scheduled for November 2020, the performances were postponed twice due to the pandemic and will now go ahead on 25-27 February 2021 at Kinoler cinema in Kahler.
The Coronavirus Chronicles is a collection of fifteen short stories and sketches about life during the COVID-19 pandemic by Luxembourg-based writers. Elizabeth Adams, a teacher at the International School of Luxembourg (ISL), began writing and compiling the stories based on real-life experiences during the first lockdown in spring 2020. In September, the BGT English Theatre Company came on board after having successfully put on their play “David's RedHaired Death" despite the challenging circumstances linked to the pandemic. Together with Elizabeth Adams, they decided to stage the show as a charity performance, with the support of other Luxembourg-based writers from various backgrounds (a secondary school student, a healthcare worker...).
Directors Tony and Ferelith Kingston explained that the first selection of stories was characterised by a predominantly “heavy mood”. The company subsequently added in a few lighter stories, thus portraying the emotional journey “with ups and downs” that is the coronavirus pandemic, with the show ending “on a poignant note”.
As well as directing, Ferelith wrote one of the plays that make up the Coronavirus Chronicles. She wrote “Rehearsal Etiquette”, a 15-minute online play adapted to the stage, last summer as part of a piece she was going to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The play focuses on a group of people doing an online rehearsal – an experience many people involved in theatre have had to get used to over the past year.
Tony, director and co-founder of the BGT, also wrote a couple of the plays, including a satire of the United Kingdom and Luxembourg governments' respective reactions at the start of the pandemic.
Several of the stories are short monologues or plays which require no more than one or two actors. The fact that the Coronavirus Chronicles is better designed for smaller casts has facilitated the theatre company’s ability to put the show together within the constraints of current sanitary regulations. A total of eleven actors appear on stage at different times. The largest cast is needed for Ferelith’s “Research Etiquette”, which brings together five actors in one scene. This has proven challenging for live rehearsals since the introduction of stricter restrictions on gatherings in mid-December 2020; instead, they have opted for Zoom rehearsals. Another challenge since the original dates was the need to recast some parts due to scheduling conflicts.
Nevertheless, the theatre company continues to follow the changing restrictions and is even organising a livestream option of the Coronavirus Chronicles for anyone who missed out on tickets for the sold-out performances at Kinoler (audience numbers are limited).
The live performances are scheduled for Thursday 25 and Friday 26 February at 19:30 and Saturday 27 February at 14:30 (matinée) and 19:30. All proceeds will go to charity efforts in the fight against COVID-19, namely Caritas Luxembourg.
Spectators can watch the livestreamed Saturday evening performance on YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UCCpIoYZ0imbDvJ8w9bi0PpA. The broadcast will remain online for a further 48 hours following the show. There will be no charge for the viewing, although anyone watching will have the option of contributing to Caritas Luxembourg.