Coping with Coronavirus Lockdown: The Understated Joys of Reading a Script
Courtney Priday explores the delights of reading scripts during nationwide theatre shutdowns.
In these uncertain times, the arts sector, and in particular theatre which relies on large audiences, are facing months without productions. I, like many other theatregoers, have had tickets cancelled for long awaited performances, especially in regional theatres, and have been left wondering: what can fill the void?
Companies such as Lloyd-Webber Theatres and National Theatre Live are offering free streaming services of some of their pre-recorded productions for a limited time. Shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar and One Man, Two Guvnors (both of which I thoroughly recommend watching) are available at the moment, with new productions being released each week.
However, in this glorious sunshine that we have been without for far too long, surely it’s a waste to find another excuse to be glued to our screens? In light of this, why not turn to printed theatre? The script – an under-appreciated form of literature now rarely enjoyed outside the realms of study, but in the unusual situation we find ourselves in, it can provide a fantastic form of escapism.
We become the directors of our own play, forging our own potential production beyond the physical constraints of theatre.
In the pages of a script we are free to enjoy theatre through our own lens, often guided by a brief contextual introduction but otherwise left to our own devices; reading scripts can provide an engaging and creative outlet. We become the directors of our own play, forging our own potential production beyond the physical constraints of theatre. It also makes more compelling and shorter reading than a novel due to the natural pacing of drama being confined to keep our attention for only a few hours. This provides sceptical readers with a great starting point whilst also giving avid drama-lovers and readers a short time to put aside to get lost in a narrative and then return to work, study or learning a new skill with the time lockdown has given us.
Hopefully, this will foster a newfound mindfulness about how we use our time and we will continue new hobbies like script-reading long after this is over, now is just the perfect time to give it a chance.