By Ken Schwartz
Two Planks is getting back to work.
It’s hard to believe in a way, and we have many hurdles to get over in the months to come, but the artists at Two Planks are getting ready to work with each other again in September.
The first step will be a week-long workshop with eight company members at the Ross Creek Centre in September. During that time we will be developing our new fireside adaptation of Jekyll and Hyde (set in an imaginary Canning of 1911), a production that was interrupted by the pandemic in March.
This week together will accomplish more than one goal. Part of our investigation will encompass figuring out how to work safely with each other in a rehearsal hall – a big question for theatre artists around the world right now. The fact that we are working exclusively on a script will make it easier for artists that need to physically distance to do so. But we will simultaneously be thinking about May of 2021 and the work we will need to do to prepare for a rehearsal situation for three different plays.
At the same time, we will be considering what it means to deliver intimate performances in the age of Covid-19. How can we maintain the sensation of coming together while also being “safely apart”? Our outdoor venues are a great help to us in this situation, and in September we will have an opportunity to experiment with new ideas that will allow us to achieve our artistic goals in slightly different ways. Like so many people in so many fields, we are learning to adapt to a different world.
And finally, we will be investigating a play that we chose long before the last 5 months turned our lives upside down, and asking what it means to us now. The words might be the same, but the artists are different people now and so is the world. We may find resonances in ways we never dreamed of in February, and that’s as it should be.
One of the biggest unknowns for me will be what it will feel like, after all the certainty and sacrifice, to be back in a room with my colleagues and asking the question: “What next?”
But I am so excited to find out.