As cultural life in Europe learned to adapt to social distances, new locks appeared along with the need for small audiences and face masks.
Last month, European museums, theaters, concert halls and bookstores were forced to close for the second time this year as coronavirus cases continue to rise on the continent.
The lock is available in England, France, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere. For the most part, it’s still expected to last around a month, and people can go to work in many countries – actors can train, and dancers can train, even if only the audience is online.
There is another difference: people’s feelings. For some, a second lockdown is more desperate, while others are more optimistic. Then there are those who are disappointed: On Monday, some 40 German museum directors issued a statement calling on the country’s government not to force them to close.
To understand how people feel about the situation, we spoke to six cultural figures, including an Italian opera star, a famous Parisian bookseller, and the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Here are excerpts from those conversations.
Actor Tom Dewispelaere, Antwerp, Belgium
It’s so sad how we have to stop.
We played Samuel Beckett nine times I am waiting for godot Recently, the audience at the Toneelhuis Theater was very impressed. They went back to the theater for the first time, but I think they had to watch these two personalities, Vladimir and Havoc, waiting for something to happen.
They could really empathize with them, because humanity has been waiting for months for hope, vaccination, fixes and solutions.
We did everything we could to be safe. We rented a hall as big as a soccer field in Antwerp and decided to make our 200-seat stage completely Jovid-proof. But unfortunately …
It is the correct decision. The first line of the work is “Something to do.” And it has nothing to do with this situation. We just have to wait to play I am waiting for godot again.
The opera singer Francesco Meli, Genoa, Italy.
The first lockout was a huge shock: many people in Italy were hospitalized and many died. I feel depressed. What could our future be? I thought. But this time I’m not depressed. I’m angry. This decision to close theaters is crazy, I don’t understand.
Many others agree. Then you see these protests.
Everyone who worked in theaters during the summer (directors, musicians, singers, technical staff) tried to make them safe with Covid with certain protocols. And the moment we found a way, the Prime Minister said, “No! Goodbye! “It just came to our attention then. It’s like demagoguery.
I was able to understand the complete crash. So why just us and a few other places: gyms, swimming pools, universities? Why?
I know that some people from the orchestras and some singers have passed a positive test in Italy. Give a positive result during the speech Aida At La Scala. However, it is normal to have a positive test at work, stay home, and be self-quarantined.
This will be a great loss.
DJ Virginia, Berlin, Germany
At the beginning of October, I gave two shows: each outside, everyone on the dance floor was masked. I was nervous, but after a few minutes I felt like usual: fun and excitement, you feel the pressure on your body.
I had this thought in my mind: “I should enjoy it as much as I can. There may be another lock because it is winter, ”he said. And this is exactly what happened: a week later, my next show was canceled.
I am still continuing this lockdown process as financial problems arise; it is more difficult than the first. Many people, propagandists, artists, bar owners, said they couldn’t get through the second stage, and it’s devastating.
I am lucky to have my savings. In all probability, I bet money on the opposite side; obviously, I will not expect this situation. I have to focus on the silverware there. My motto at the moment is “Every day is a day”, because otherwise I will bear nuts.
Director del museo Tristram Hunt, Victoria and Albert Museum, Londres
I feel a strong disappointment. There is another feeling of losing something that can happen. We had to open our exhibition of bags, reopen our Rafael Court, open the exhibition of Renaissance watercolors, those beautiful moments in the darkness of November.
The British government has supported this fiscal year, but our real problem is looking to the future and it is creating more problems.
We already have to give a judicial decision when everything is reopened. We are told that the lockdown period will last only one month, until December 2, but hope will kill it.
We changed the show times again: all the directors sent each other letters saying: “We need to extend our programs again” or “We are closed, but no.” Don’t worry, we look at your items. “It just came to our attention then. Yesterday I bought one at the Louvre, the ones from Russia were very nice, very stamped: embossed official insignia.
Sylvia Whitman Bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, Paris
We spent all of our savings, so we sent an email last week: “If you had the opportunity to buy a Christmas gift for someone on our website, it would be a big change for us.”
The response was very surprising – the phone rang, emails came through, so it felt like a hive here, even though we were closed.
This is a true spiritual urge, because people say, “We want you to stay open.” In Paris, they are talking about allowing bookstores to reopen in two weeks. There was a great debate on this topic. Yesterday we asked former president Francois Hollande to come into the store because he heard we were in trouble and he wanted to make a video call to open bookstores. What he said about the importance of reading to society was, in fact, very moving.
The books that people buy are interesting. In the first prison, people bought many books about the pandemic. Pueblo By Camus, and this time people seek escape, fiction, Greek mythology. There is less panic.
Dancer Michelle Willems, Ballett Zurich, Switzerland
I feel more fortunate than the dancers I know today. We had to stop working completely in March. I had to practice holding the kitchen table. But now we can work 50 percent of the norm. This means that we can enter the studio for half our normal working hours, which is enough to keep us in shape, and our body does not always have to climb.
We all have to wear masks, but we can play and dance with a partner.
A mask is a bit difficult to bear and breathe, but I am happy to wear it. I haven’t performed with a mask yet, but I feel like the audience will be very bored.
The government did not close the theater here, but said we could only see 50 people. Typically in a 1,250 person theater, this means a huge waste of money. I think this should be done, because the number of coronavirus cases is growing again, but there are many contradictions. People can still go to restaurants and I don’t know if it’s safer than going to the theater.
When will I speak again? This is a great question.