The Coronavirus Chronicles, rescheduled on two occasions, eventually saw the light of day at the week-end at the Kinoler complex in Kahler, close to the Belgium border, thanks to the perserverance of the Berliner Grund Theatre (BGT).
With physical distancing in place, each of the four performances were restricted to around 25 audience members who were able to appreciate English-language theatre live and in-person.
With between one and five actors per piece, the Coronavirus Chronicles addressed a range of issued we have been experiencing over the past 12 months, from monologues featuring an exasperated mother and the perils of online shopping and about being worried about taking time off from work and dying alone, to a hypochondriac and the quandary about deciding whether or not to go to a hospital with stomach pains during lockdown, as well as the one featuring frustrations about losing one's job and contracting COVID-19. Then there was sisters comparing stories from working late with children at home all the time, to suffering from isolation.
The chronicles featuring the larger numbers of actors on stage together arguably led to be best, with one getting the times mixed up for, and being distracted during, Zoom rehearsals, including the pitfalls of mistakenly sending private messages to group chats, and another featuring a family on a Zoom called with a foul-mouthed, frustrated teenager and an elderly grandmother in a care home struggling to hear and remember, with the mother/daughter sympathising with students yet frustrated not being able to visit her mother.
And then there were the chronicles featuring family going for a walk and being frustrated by people trying to get around lockdown restrictions, and another about having free time, while another featured a scene about someone who was supposed to get married last year, also trying to be creative at home.
The costumes in the first part of the 2-hour production were mainly, but not exclusively, pyjamas, with the second half focussing more on a timeline of government announcements, with the British in denial and the Luxembourg including a parody on regional towns and Luxembourgish habits and traditions...
The production certainly focussed on the more amusing aspects of the restrictions, including lockdowns and border closures, that we have all experienced over the past 12 months, with issues relating to mental health and the impact of the restrictions having on individuals and families, including the frustrations and difficulties of separation, as well as having to become used to wearing uncomfortable masks.
But the best was arguably saved for last with Tony Kingston, who produced the entire production, providing a comparison of previous times, the doom and gloom in the aftermath of a war, the Spanish Flu and entering an economic depression in "dark times" ("one misery after another... learn to carry on and live with it").
The Coronavirus Chronicles were captured on video which is available until for 48 hours after the Saturday evening performance, i.e. until around 21:30 on Monday 1 March. See youtube.com/channel/UCCpIoYZ0imbDvJ8w9bi0PpA
All proceeds will go to charity efforts in the fight against COVID-19, namely Caritas Luxembourg.