Here at Coronavirus Diaries I’ve been trying to showcase some of the ways in which our inventiveness and resilience as artists/musicians/performers has helped us remain creatively vital during the pandemic, and I came across one yesterday:
This is a shot from Terminal 1 at Stuttgart Airport, which mere months ago would have been a bustling mass of humanity trying to get from point A to point B. Now it is empty, save these two.
It was one of a series of 12 one-on-one concerts organized by flautist Stephanie Winker; audience members won their place from participating in a Facebook contest. The performances were 10 minutes long, and neither player nor listener was to say anything during the concert, and there would be no applause.
You can read a bit more about the experience from the link above – suffice it to say that it is unusual and surprising and intimate. I was touched by the notion that musician and audience were asked to look each other in the eyes before the performance. There’s a level of connection there, of intimacy, that could only happen in a format such as this.
As performers onstage, we rarely have the opportunity to be so close to our audiences. Our interaction is sending sound out into a room; the audiences interaction is to let us know that they enjoyed our performance by applauding. Take those barriers of convention away and we are stripped down to the basics; a person sharing an expression of themselves and another person receiving that expression in the most simple and direct way possible.
That’s why we create art, and perhaps it has taken us a pandemic to be reminded of this fundamental truth.
What truths has the lockdown and the interruption to our lives revealed to you?
My task: a Zoom meeting with the creative team behind a holiday program that I helm in Minneapolis. I imagined that the conversation would be difficult because we are making plans for shows that may not happen; we just can’t know. But it was good to see everyone’s face, and to at least talk about what holiday cheer we could create (done!)