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Lucy Popescu’s theatre news: Love in the Lockdown; Brother; Park Q&As

04 March, 2021 — By Lucy Popescu

Was Emilia Bassano the Bard’s “Dark Lady”?

RACHAEL Stirling and Alec Newman star in Love in the Lockdown by Clare Norburn with music performed by Norburn’s ensemble The Telling. Directed by Nicholas Renton, this new online play follows the relationship of medieval musician Emilia (Stirling) and playwright Giovanni (Newman), starting with their awkward Zoom dates just before lockdown. The pair work on a project inspired by Boccaccio’s The Decameron; stories told by young people to while away their quarantine during the Black Death in 14th century Florence. Giovanni draws out the parallels with the Covid-19 pandemic, while Emilia plans the music. Released in nine episodes on YouTube from March 4 to May 23, streamed in real time and marking the anniversary of some of the key points in Lockdown 1.0. Free to watch: youtube.com/thetellingmusic

A folk musical by Robin Simões da Silva and Annabel Mutale Reed, Brother is about grief, new beginnings and brotherly love. Reid is an aspiring artist and a young transgender man beginning to find his way in the world. Jackson is his smart and focused older brother, set on a career in medicine and beginning to re-navigate his relationship with Reid after years away. Their mother Cassie is their biggest champion and most important lifeline. Her sudden death forces the brothers to confront the loss of their childhood home and all the memories it holds. This workshop production is directed for live streaming by Tom Jackson Greaves. Tickets £15 March 5-6. Visit: southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/livestream/brother

• The Park Theatre is offering its Instagram followers a feast of free Q&As with career-inspiring industry professionals who will be taking questions on working behind – and sometimes in front of – the curtain. Over eight weeks these theatrical pros will discuss their professions, talk about how they are keeping creative during the pandemic and answer questions – live from the Park’s Instagram channel. Visit: instagram.com/parktheatrelondon

The Old Vic is streaming two new monologues from March 8. Putting A Face On, written and directed by Kiri Pritchard-McLean and performed by Susan Wokoma, is a dark, ultimately empowering tale about gaslighting which offers insight into the nuances of emotional abuse, victim blaming and control. Aisha (the black album) by Regina Taylor, directed by Tinuke Craig and starring Jade Anouka, traces the history of black women’s political power, from disenfranchisement to mobilisation, against the backdrop of the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2020 US election. Visit: YouTube.com/OldVicTheatre

• The award-winning comedy, Emilia, by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (originally staged at the Globe Theatre) will be online from March 1-31. Four hundred years ago Emilia Bassano wanted her voice to be heard. Could she have been the “Dark Lady” of Shakespeare’s sonnets? Why was she erased from history? This acclaimed play reveals the life of Emilia. Tickets start from just £1. Captioned and audio described recordings available. Visit: emilialive.com

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