With 300 confirmed cases* and just five deaths, according to the live-updating https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ site, Australia is nowhere near the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis currently plaguing other countries in Asia or Europe. Still, seeing that the World Health Organization has officially declared the outbreak a pandemic, strict prevention measures, such as nationwide closure of schools and stay-at-home directives, are bound to sooner or later hit this part of the world too.
In Greece, with a total of 331 infected individuals and four deceased, the government has already imposed closure of all educational institutions, from kindergartens and foreign language institutes to crammers and unis, in an effort to curb the virus’ spreading. Moreover, theatres, cinemas, gyms, cafes, restaurants, beauty parlours, et al have all been shut down for at least a fortnight.
Thus, with kids and the better part of the adult population loitering at home, one must inevitably come up with pastimes to keep everyone sated; or at least temporarily occupied with something beyond social media, YouTube, and the like. The conundrum is a tricky one, for sure.
Funnily enough, among the burgeoning ideas seeking to entertain housebound Greeks of all ages there emerges an activity inextricably linked to live, site-specific, ephemeral action. Enter theatre productions. Namely, videotaped theatre productions of previous seasons, or even current, brand new performances that would have played in the presence of audiences, had it not been for the anti-virus urgent measures.
• More specifically, the National Theatre’s plentiful digital archives come to the rescue of youngsters by granting them free access to a selection of its popular past productions, the likes of “Around the World in 80 Days” (2002) (directed by Marianna Toli), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (directed by Yiannis Iordanidis), “Homer’s Odyssey” (adapted and directed by Karmen Rouggeri), and then some. Naturally, it may prove quite a task to impress (let alone, suppress) today’s kids, so very hooked on multicoloured clamorous cartoons, through televised histrionics, but new challenges call for fresh attitudes and solutions.
• For its part, and in view of the newly-imposed curfew preventing theatre-goers from actually attending a performance, the prestigious Greek Art Theatre Karolos Koun has just announced that all productions currently staged in its two venues will be made available on demand through the theatre’s website at a minimal price. Namely, kids will be treated to videotaped performances of Hector Malot’s classic novel “Sans Famille” (theatre adaptation by Andri Theodotou, directed by Dimitris Degaitis), teenagers are offered “Let Me Go Out in The Air” (conceived and directed by Elias Kounelas), and “A Day Without #MiaMeraXwris” (written and directed by Eva Economou-Vamvaka), Performances for adult audiences include a rerun of last year’s modernized “Othello” (Haris Frangoulis directing), David Mamet’s “Edmond” (directed by the theatre’s artistic director, Marianna Kalbari), and a splendid theatrical adaptation of Steven Hawking’s iconic book “A Brief History of Time” (conceived and directed by Natassa Triandafyli).
* NOTE: Numbers may differ from current input, as data is constantly being updated.