Coronavirus won’t kill artists’ creative spirit
What do three actors and one ordinary bloke who is cajoled into giving “jazz hands” on demand do when they are in coronavirus lockdown?
For Rebecca Amy Wood, a Bay performer living in Spain, the answer is, make a song and dance of it.
Wood, 27, her boyfriend Eddie Friend, 40, and their British housemates Sammie Amery, 28, and Joe Philpotts, 30, are in lockdown in Spain — but they are not letting that get them down.
Taking inspiration from Abba’s Thank You For The Music and Queen’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, the housemates sing and dance their hearts out — before posting videos online — in an attempt to cheer others up at a time when Wood says inspiration is needed.
Wood, a former Rother-Swain Drama Studio pupil, now works for La Tourné Teatro, a touring children’s theatre company based in Valencia, Spain.
Of course, there is no touring happening at the moment, so Wood, her fellow thespians Amery and Philpotts and boyfriend Friend, from Mossel Bay, are spending quite some time together.
“Just over a week ago schools closed in Spain which left us all with cancelled tours,” Wood said, adding that Spain had been in full lockdown for just over a week.
She explained that Spaniards had developed a charming habit of all standing on their balconies at 8pm to clap for those providing services, like doctors and nurses.
“My boyfriend came over from London to isolate here with me, which leaves us with three actors and a very non-actor who is forced into giving us jazz hands on demand.
“Jazz hands” is a gesture originating in musical theatre, in which the hands are waved rapidly to and fro.
“Every night at 8pm there is clapping on the balcony to thank the services, doctors and nurses for their hard work.
“On the first night of isolation, eight days ago, we decided to write a little jingle to sing on the balcony.
“We are creatives, after all.
“It was so well received and, more than anything, uplifting for a lot of people, which is why we decided to begin doing a new song [and] video every few days.
“It’s such a strange and odd time right now but we’re a group of incredibly positive people, and we are doing everything we can to keep creative, keep active and keep morale high.
“We’ve only been in isolation for just over a week and it’s been announced that we will be here for at least another three, which is probably wishful thinking as I’m sure it could be longer,” Wood said.
Explaining just how strict the Spanish police were when it came to enforcing the lockdown, Wood said only one person in every household was allowed to go out to the shops at a time.
Once at the shop, people must queue standing 1m away from each other and no speaking in the shop is allowed.
“They are patrolling our streets continuously and we’ve seen someone get a fine for running.
“You need justified documentation if you are travelling in a car.
“My bosses have given me documents for when I need to travel to the workshop. Only one person is allowed in a car at a time unless it’s an emergency.
“When exercising, we started with stair sprints as we live on the second floor, but that’s illegal now,” Wood said.