Things We Broke During Lockdown – Video Shorts – A Creative Response to Quarantine from Valise Noire Storytelling Theatre.
Blog post by Alice Flynn, Co-Director, Valise Noire, February 9th, 2021.
March 2020: the UK went into lockdown. Instantaneously, everyday life was shattered into isolated parts as the whole nation stayed at home.
Our regular routines were disrupted, our daily rhythms punctuated by an exercise hour – if we were lucky – or a nervous trip out to get necessities. There was a quick dissolution of identities: parents and guardians became teachers, roles changed as jobs were lost or put on hold.
New phrases became the norm as our wording evolved: furloughed, social distancing, shielding. Bubbles and mask became mandatory as this time of quarantine continued.
Each day, we met the unknown. Sometimes, it was the little things that caused a pause: ‘Was this really happening?’. If we broke something it was hard to fix, hard to get parts, or the expertise needed.
Broken Open – An Unprecedented Period in Global History
This got us thinking about the larger picture. Lockdown brought much to the surface. All that was cracking or already broken, was seen more clearly: the systems of society, dynamics in the home, our own behaviour patterns and habits.
Valise Noire Storytelling Theatre wanted to document this time, capturing people’s experiences at the level of the micro and mundane. We didn’t want to forget the details of this strange era. We also wanted to engage with people, to create a sense of camaraderie, care and creativity, while we were all apart.
We were very grateful to receive emergency funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to support our work in 2020 as creatives and to bring our new project to life. And so, Things We Broke During Lockdown began.
We used social media to invite people to share their lockdown ‘breakages’ with us. We heard from those who smashed and trashed objects, those who broke bones and hearts and homes. We were told of losses and longings, shattered perceptions, fragmented routines and broken communication.
We found new ways of communicating and relating - often through an unstable internet connection! We Zoomed like never before and online parties, dance and quizzes became an unexpected part of our lives.
Valise Noire Lockdown Videos
We wrote and filmed a series of comedy sketches, poems, snippets and insights, monologues and even a few out-takes. You can view our videos on our YouTube channel.
Lockdown 1.0 tested us, it was messy and not at all graceful. In many ways, it prepared us for the year that has followed. I write this piece during lockdown 3.0, February 2021 here in the UK. The traumatic effects of this global pandemic continue to unfold inside us and around us. And yet, humans, adaptable as we are, continue to create and find ways to meet the challenges. Hopefully, and humbly, we’re learning about what was and wasn’t serving. We know the simplest of things are the richest: hugs, house visits, hanging out with loved ones, shared spaces, groups of more than six, smiles… We’ve been broken open…
Thank you to all who have shared your quarantine experiences with us and to The National Heritage Lottery Fund for the funding that enabled us to purchase the technical equipment to bring the work to life.
Things We Broke During Lockdown – A Creative Response to Quarantine, can be viewed here.
Credits: inspiration from the general public, as well as ideas and improvisation from Michele O'Brien and Alice Flynn. Written by Alice Flynn, performed and directed by Michele O'Brien and Alice Flynn.