(Mark Lawson’s article appeared in the Guardian, 9/13.)
In the Guardian on Saturday, Martin Amis predicted it will be years before novelists can make sense of the pandemic. Theatre’s swifter turnaround – and technology allowing a form of live performance – have allowed Richard Nelson already to write and direct three Zoom dramas featuring the Apples, a liberal upstate New York family, first seen in four earlier stage plays.
What Do We Need To Talk About? and And So We Come Forth took them through aspects of infection, isolation and lockdown. In Incidental Moments of the Day, a character – with the shock of a bomb going off – meets a stranger outside. But now an election is coming.
Future historians will feast on this project for its reporting of extraordinary times
Future historians will feast on this project for its reporting of extraordinary times. Trainee playwrights will find it invaluable as an exemplar of negotiating staging restraints. Nelson’s uncannily naturalistic cast includes actors who live together in life but not art, and vice versa. Ingenious plotting has kept them in the medically permissible rectangles. With several actors simultaneously in vision, their constant subtle reactions are a new form of acting.