Interesting Times

Interesting Times

There’s an ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Theatre people should theoretically be prepped for them: our whole careers are based on the principle of uncertainty and never more so than during the last 2 years. Personally, I never dared believe a show would happen until I was in the rehearsal room – and in these days of people dropping like flies with the plague it’s more like ‘until we make it though the run.’ It’s harder to be philosophical about the possibility of being nuked, though and frankly, making a ‘silly little show’ seems pretty futile in the face of the horrors unfolding in Ukraine. Uptown problems, baby.

I found this on Twitter, "It can be overwhelming to witness/experience/take in all the injustices of the moment; the good news is that they’re all connected. So if your little corner of work involves pulling at one of the threads, you’re helping to unravel the whole damn cloth." Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

I would love to believe this. I don't know if I do.

On a personal level, awareness of what's going on in Kyiv has made me value my lovely life. Husband, family, friends, trips to the sea and the pub, hot crumpets, enough credit to keep the lights and heat on, not having to shelter in a basement whilst enemy shells rain down overhead. Peace isn’t the absence of war: there’s always a war going on somewhere. It’s just knowing, in this minute here and now, that nobody wants you dead (at least as far as you know).

I once went through a horrible time that, after it was over, reminded me never to take my freedom, being able to go wherever I wanted for granted ever again – and I never have. For years afterward, I’d be on the street and suddenly have a moment where I’d marvel at how amazing it was that I could just…walk around freely. And then Covid lockdowns hit and I suddenly couldn’t again and I reacted extremely badly: it felt just like being trapped in that horrible place all over again and like all the lovely things in life had been taken away. It’s probably incredibly narcissistic of me to relate to the Ukrainian invasion by way of my own solo trauma and it can only be a fraction of what it must feel like to be a citizen of Kyiv right now. One minute you’re living your normal existence and contemplating whether you fancy whatever the Ukrainian version of crumpets are – and the next, you’re having to take up a gun and fight for your life.

This wasn’t going to be a piece about the war. It was going to be about uncertainty in the arts. But some events expand in your head until they take up all available space – and that’s when you should act. For sure, use your work to address systemic inequality and oppression - but also, look outside your little life and go to a demo, write to your MP, donate money if you can (distributing donations of food and clothes etc is a logistical nightmare). All the sparkly costumes and overwritten scripts and soul-sapping funding applications will still be there where we left them, when we return. We have that privilege, for now.

Whilst we can’t force them to become boringly tranquil, interesting times can be rendered more bearable by solidarity. Please help if you can.

## UK:

DEC Disasters Emergency Committee - UK. The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas.

Follow Ukraine Solidarity Campaign and Euromaidan for news of demos and Ukrainian updates in English

@BritUkrAid supports victims of the ongoing war, orphaned children, IDPs, the wounded, etc.

@AUGBSUB are fundraising for humanitarian aid:


@razomforukraine and Nova Ukraine raise money for Emergency Response:

Thank you.