March 13, 2020

Plague forces cancellation of play about the plague.

"Madison’s Overture Center for the Arts has cancelled... The Amateurs, Forward Theater Company’s play about a troupe of actors trying to avoid the Black Plague in 14th Century Europe...." (Wisconsin State Journal).

The play ran in NYC in 2018. From the review of the NY performance in the NYT. The play within the play is called "Noah's Ark." In that play, the actor playing God is "a mellifluous blowhard named Larking" who is doubting God's existence because of the Black Plague. The troupe encounters problems filling the roles as actors die.
In a moment of stubborn curiosity that alters the aesthetic history of mankind, [the actress playing Mrs. Noah] asks what would happen if Mrs. Noah just didn’t feel like getting on that ark one day.

What would happen, [the playwright, Jordan Harrison] suggests, is the Renaissance, or very nearly. The beginning of self-consciousness, he argues, is the beginning of enlightenment. If this sounds a bit heady for a rollicking tragicomedy in which pratfalls and death throes are tumbled together, that is part of the play’s unusual scheme....

[I]t really is a thrilling, expansive, world-changing moment in a very sneaky play when [the character playing Mrs. Noah] first asks, What’s my motivation? Which is a question you can only begin to contemplate after asking, What is God’s?

65 comments:

rehajm said...

"I can't have the bubonic plague I had it as a kid!"

- Tom Hanks, Bosom Buddies

Lurker21 said...

Same thing with The Seventh Seal.

Max von Sydow died last week.

Who will replace him?

Inga said...

Very meta.

madAsHell said...

Mildly O/T.

My daughter just returned from the Costco in Seattle. Toilet paper, and paper towels are being rationed. There were sporadic fights in line.

tcrosse said...

Then there's Masque of the Red Death (1964)

Vincent Price died in 1993. Who will replace him?

Openidname said...

Headline: "Coronavirus conference canceled due to coronavirus."

https://macdailynews.com/2020/03/11/coronavirus-conference-canceled-due-to-coronavirus (and elsewhere).

Bay Area Guy said...

Forget the play, the Huffington Post writes that Coronavirus is decimating the porn industry.

Bay Area Guy said...

I meant "sex" industry, not "porn" industry.

I am clearly not Laslo.

robother said...

I'm working on a script about a computer virus that spreads panic about a real world virus in order to force people into looking at their computer screens all day because the real world is cancelled. The thing almost writes itself. Indeed, I am waiting for it to do just that. But will anyone take a meeting to pitch it?

These meta plot-lines always seem to end up being consumed by their own tropes.

rhhardin said...

I'm wondering if I'll be able to get maxipads for the bicycle helmet. I'm about out.

madAsHell said...

the Huffington Post writes that Coronavirus is decimating the porn industry.

That is evergreen journalism. That article is a template waiting for a crisis. Update the crisis, and shazam, we have something to print.

Karen of Texas said...

Well, I suppose God could be culling the herd - at least that's what those who scoff at believers are intimating. "See where those prayers get you?!? Hahaha."

Of course, since the earth is Lucifer's playground, I'm more inclined to see his hand in the chaos. Whether we choose to behave as God would desire or as Satan hopes remains to be seen. However, fisticuffs over toilet paper would seem to indicate Satan is winning.

Quaestor said...

[Mrs. Noah] asks what would happen if Mrs. Noah just didn’t feel like getting on that ark one day.

How does feeling like not getting on that ark feel?

Quaestor said...

What is God's motivation?

Being rid of tendentious actors for starters.

robother said...

Orders are orders. Two of each. If Mrs. Noah just doesn't feel like getting on that ark, well there's plenty of fish in the sea.

Calypso Facto said...

robother said: "I'm working on a script about a computer virus that spreads panic about a real world virus"

Warning from our cyber-security insurance firm today:
"High-profile global issues and crises are perfect fodder for hackers; using the coronavirus theme for phishing emails or other predatory techniques is prevalent"

Browndog said...

This Week's Features:

-Corona pandemic
-Daylight savings
-Friday the 13th
-full moon

Rick.T. said...

Went to the Costco in west Nashville shortly after opening for a return. Parking lot almost full. Few carts. No toilet paper. Lines to back of store with hour plus check out wait. Went for lunch at a small Mediterranean restaurant owned by refugee Egyptian Coptic Christians. Small crowd. Owner reports business is not good. Less than two dozen confirmed coronavirus cases in Tennessee. So it really begins....

As much as I detest Democrat politicians, I give high marks to Governor Cuomo at his press conference this morning. Very factual and level headed. Thanked Trump and Pence for acting very quickly on suggestions from the state.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Wife and I are going to dinner tomorrow - Macedonian immigrants. Great food and great people!
Gotta pay in cash when you patronize these folks, credit/debit costs kill 'em. Tip generously.

Leland said...

Those who fail to learn from history...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I’m starting to get pissed that all these fragile old people I’m supposed to do my part to protect — accepting a total upheaval of my life, the curtailment of my right to travel and assemble, my retirement account down 20%, my kids’ educations interrupted — by and large don’t seem to be interested in taking any of the basic precautions they of ALL people should be doing. As I’ve said several times this week I am in Phoenix and there are hordes of old people everywhere and they are doing jack shit differently than anyone did before all of this. Just sat next to an octogenarian with an oxygen tank at In n Out. If the at-risk old people can’t be bothered to stay home and use their sanitizer why the hell am I going along with all of this?

Ken B said...

Forces? Or garners?

Karen of Texas said...

"If the at-risk old people can’t be bothered to stay home and use their sanitizer why the hell am I going along with all of this?"

Well, it's only recommended that they do those things. If they know what is going on and still choose to engage with the outside world, well it's on them. I suspect an 80yo on oxygen might just be thinking, "What the hell. I'm ready. I've had a good life. An In N Out burger and fries make a good last meal." Plus elder is getting a shot of the sunshine vitamin if out and about.

Yancey Ward said...

MisplacedPants,

Old people have less time on the Earth, and are less willing to sequester themselves for indeterminate periods of time. The best you can do is to try not to infect them yourself, the rest is up to fate.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Fine. Elders can run whatever risks they want. It’s a free country! But why am I expected — required — to disrupt my own life in many costly ways and the justification is to protect those people and I can’t opt out? How’s that remotely fair?

My husband can’t work in his normal way, which means he won’t hit his targets, which will cost him nearly six figures in bonuses. But hey no big deal right? I can take that with a smile on my face because at least Grandpa could have that risky burger.

Why should young families do all the sacrificing when we ask evidently nothing that isn’t self interested from those actually at risk?

Meade said...

Global pandemic ?!?! But what about my career!!

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Shorter Meade: my concerns are noble; yours are selfish.

traditionalguy said...

The people have all suddenly gone to the grocery stores today. It was funny seeing how much each shopper could get in their cart until the shelves were nearly bare. It is like they believe food deliveries will stop today. Thank God we will always have Waffle House.

Howard said...

I think misplaced my pants outline the perfect example of what Christian charity really means. We feel your pain over those bonuses, sweetheart.

Howard said...

Let's just hope we don't have a plague within a plague

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I’m sure it’s hard to be old and feel vulnerable. But guess what: if you’re interested, it’s also hard to have your world turned upside down and ability to meet the commitments you have made toward your children threatened. A little understanding going both ways would be nice.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Fuck off, Howard. That’s a large part of our income which we had allocated to pay for part of our daughter’s cost of attendance at college. But she should just be screwed over because of all of this, right? How’s any of this her fault?

I’m sure you’re this much of an asshole to waitresses who can’t pay their rent because their city as been shut down. Right?

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

And if the at risk people don’t care about the working people this is all putting out of a job and the kids who are missing school and activities and whose parents whose income and investments are in the crapper, maybe you can take your lectures about Christian charity to them because they could use them too.

tcrosse said...

Thinking to avoid the rush, I went early this morning to my friendly neighborhood supermarket to pick up a few items. So did everybody else. The place was a madhouse, but in the midst of all the shoppers, the market employees were restocking the shelves like billy-o, God bless 'em. Also, some employees were busy making up orders for those who shopped online, and will either get delivery or pick up their orders behind the store, which I will do until this blows over. It's amazing what our markets can do with their razor-thin margins and their complex supply chains.

Karen of Texas said...

Pants, I have a daughter who has 3 children under 5. Her husband has to work or he doesn't get paid. His monthly bonuses - because he works his ass off - help them meet their obligations. They are going to be hurting if things take a nasty turn. I'll just post this again - I posted in another thread a day or so ago. From her fb page:

This coronavirus thing has some people really freaked out. Personally I'm not too worried for myself or my kids getting sick however the thought of the economy coming to a grinding hault (like Italy) does make me feel anxious, like I should be doing SOMETHING. But then I realized I have been: I have chickens; I planted a garden last month; I use cloth diapers, wipes and napkins. I remember hearing stories about "victory gardens" during WWII when people were told to grow their own food so resources could be diverted to the war effort. Instead of panic-buying everything off the shelves, people were taking charge of their own circumstances (or at least that's how history remembers it). So I encourage anyone with the means to look at their own lives and figure out what you can do for yourself (and others) so that if things shut down, you have something sustainable to fall back on. I for one will not be buying any extra toilet paper (I happen to have enough for a couple weeks). I'm leaving it on the shelves for people who can't use cloth for whatever reason. If we run out before this settles down, I'll make the baby's cloth wipes work for all of us. And if anybody WANTS (or desperately needs) cloth wipes at some point in the near future, I am more than happy to make them for people out of old flannel sheets I have laying around. And if anybody wants a crash course in cloth diapering, I'm more than happy to help with that too(did you know you can use old t-shirts to diaper your kid?). So I guess in summary, I'm here if anyone needs help with anything related to chickens, gardening or using cloth. P.s. also I can help with making sourdough, yogurt and water kefir soda

I'm sure this is very stressful for you. I'm sure your daughter would be disappointed. Life often isn't fair, and that sucks; but you are obviously  smart and capable, and I'm sure your daughter is, too. There are lessons to be learned here, like resilience and overcoming disappointment and difficulties. We will all be the better for it, even though right now it sucks a$$. I hope things work out for your family - and for everyone who is being negatively impacted by this.

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

We are currently exceptionally full and are experiencing some challenges with staffing,” Tom Staiger, UW Medical Center’s medical director, wrote on Feb. 29. He asked hospital staff to “expedite appropriate discharges asap,” reflecting the need for more beds.

- Short-staffed and undersupplied: Coronavirus crisis strains Seattle area’s capacity to deliver care

Just like happens every flu season! Have also heard reports that Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland is out of beds.

Ralph L said...

what would happen if Mrs. Noah just didn’t feel like getting on that ark one day.
What would happen, [the playwright, Jordan Harrison] suggests, is the Renaissance, or very nearly.

Did rhhardin write this play? Mrs. Noah drowns => Renaissance?

n.n said...

Separate the wheat from the chaff.

OldManRick said...

I just had a cancellation of New York Gilbert and Sullivan Society's "The Mikado" less than eight hours before show time.

With only 5.5 infections per million, the odds of one infected person in a theater of 1,700 are less than 1%. My odds are less than .1% because I will not interact with all 1,700 people. Knowing me I'll probably get near less than 80 and only that because of the near by seating. Also, Los Angeles and Orange county have only 46 cases out of a population of 3.2 million in Orange county and 10.1 million in Los Angeles county so our local ratio is actually closer to 3.5 per million.

We don't know the chances of spread from short contact. Given the data from the Diamond Princess with over 2,670 passengers and 1,100 crew seeing 696 cases, the odds of getting it from extended contact are less than 20% and the odds of dying after getting it are slightly over 1%. Your odds of dying from extended contact are less than .2%. My odds of contact times my odds of dying are well less than .0002%.

I was will to take that chance to see the Mikado. That's only twice the chance I would take for a single skydive jump. People need to understand risks.

n.n said...

if Mrs. Noah just didn’t feel like getting on that ark one day

The children would evolve without their mother.

Meade said...

"Shorter Meade"

I'm short enough, thank you.

rhhardin said...

Curiously, covid-19 doesn't spread as the crow flies.

Meade said...

It spreads as the cough flies.

sinz52 said...

I always wondered if people during the Black Death plague started having real doubts about the existence of a merciful God. The fact that the death rate was much higher among the clergy (because they cared for the sick and dying) may have also contributed to such doubts.

The Church insisted that the plague was God's punishment for the people having sinned. But I wonder if parents of small children who caught the plague bought that argument.

effinayright said...

[I]t really is a thrilling, expansive, world-changing moment in a very sneaky play when [the character playing Mrs. Noah] first asks, What’s my motivation?

Which is a question you can only begin to contemplate after asking, What is God’s?
************

I think it was the ancient Greeks who said:

"If you want to make the gods laugh, tell them your plans."

Static Ping said...

The whole situation sounds very Albert Camus.

Openidname said...

Tcrosse: I usually recognize your avatar picture, but not this time. Who is it?

Narr said...

Your tags: a c g t. Just thought it amusing.

Narr
Just got here, need to review

Narr said...

Costco (where we don't go) was mobbed, with hundreds lined up outside.

Our usual Kroger wasn't too busy, and lacked mostly bottled water that I noticed. Didn't look for paper products, which we had gotten from Target the other day.

Restaurant crowds and traffic somewhat lighter than normal.

Narr
Plays and concerts cancelling left and right

Narayanan said...

Who are likely to be scathed more?
Deplorables or Millennials?
How differently for each?

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

I'll just say this now in case it matters later. or soon.

Boulder Colorado has ONE hospital. We used to have two, but the powers that be shut the older own down. Now we have one. It's a lovely hospital. It's not enough.
I've been in there a lot over the last several years with some of my own health issues (mostly tests) and with family who needed back and shoulder surgeries.
The hospital is already maxed-out.

After my own mother had back surgery, she had to wait in the recovery room for several hours before a room opened up. Her surgery, at her age, meant a few nights upstairs in a hospital room. In a hospital bed.
Anyway - this was fall, 2019. No corona virus.
long winded story - our one hospital is already maxed out on almost any given day.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

@ sinz52 - your history is a product of 21st C imagining what people must have thought, not what they thought then. Read source material. Real history. Unless, of course, your goal is to justify your own beliefs about religion and you just like to grab stuff from history at random to do that.

I was a theater major 1971-1975. These people haven't had an original thought since the end of WWII. As soon as you told me "a play about a troupe of actors trying to avoid the Black Plague in 14th Century Europe..." I could fill it in from there. Oh, they suddenly learned that evil exists? No one had dreamed that before? How forward thinking of them to question God. And a Biblical character acting like some college-feminist fantasy and SHAZAAM! the whole world changes and we're all enlightened now!

You have no idea how many times this has been done, just in many tiresome variations. All of them convinced they are doing some modern, groundbreaking theatre that is Very Significant. Hey! Did you know that all those Christian conservatives who persecute those kind and loving gay people are actually hypocrites that are having affairs and molesting boys? And that intelligent, self-sacrificing black people are persecuted by bigoted whites who are corrupt businessmen? And society is locking up eccentric people who dare to speak out against the system in psychiatric hospitals and giving them electric shocks and poisonous medications? A dozen flavors or oppressed peoples are being denied their voices, and even killed?

Just once I would like them to set one of these plays in a communist prison. Never gonna happen.

J. Farmer said...

@Narayanan:

Who are likely to be scathed more?
Deplorables or Millennials


What makes you think those are two wholly separate groups?

Narayanan said...

https://web.archive.org/web/20150703125353/http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/09/18/in-sickness-and-in-health/

Narayanan said...

Maybe Not entirely separate.

But I get the impression of opposition and tension in how the terms are used.

Roughcoat said...

Some of the younger commenters here seem poorly educated, especially in history. What happened to you guys?

There are many accounts by people who lived in the time of the bubonic plague. They show that their thoughts and feelings about the so-called great mortality ran the gamut.

Leland said...

I suspect an 80yo on oxygen might just be thinking, "What the hell. I'm ready. I've had a good life. An In N Out burger and fries make a good last meal."

They also had parents that lived through WWII and thus have a better perspective of what is happening.

Nichevo said...

J. Farmer said...
We are currently exceptionally full and are experiencing some challenges with staffing,” Tom Staiger, UW Medical Center’s medical director, wrote on Feb. 29. He asked hospital staff to “expedite appropriate discharges asap,” reflecting the need for more beds.

- Short-staffed and undersupplied: Coronavirus crisis strains Seattle area’s capacity to deliver care

Just like happens every flu season! Have also heard reports that Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland is out of beds.

3/13/20, 5:17 PM



You being on the pro-panic side and demanding facts as is your wont, I have been thinking about you the past couple of days, and noted this posted by another commenter here.


BleachBit-and-Hammers said...
I am curious why the H1N1 virus of 2009 wasn't this big of a deal.
Lots of people got sick. Lots of people died.

I don't recall Obama being pressed to solve it over-night.

You too can google the Swine flu/ H1N1 statistics:

Here they are:
CDC

From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 DEATHS (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.




60 million cases as a quarter million hospitalizations from a disease we had never seen before. From 0 to 60 million cases in a year. I don't remember 2009-10 as a horrible year for medical care when nothing could get done, in fact my dad started putting on a lot of hospital frequent flyer miles (heart, etc) back around then.

My point being that among your fears is the hospital system being overwhelmed. While I don't have point by point stats on every hospital and clinic, and I guess we might be less well equipped for an epidemic or pandemic than in 2009, ISTM that broadly, this has happened before, and we have managed.

As for contamination within hospitals, MRSA and c. difficile are big bugs that everybody is sweating, and has been for sone time. Precautions against these should armor pretty well against China's 19th Virous Breakdown. Probably muuuuuch much better practice here than in China, Iran or Italy.

J. Farmer said...

@Nichevo:

60 million cases as a quarter million hospitalizations from a disease we had never seen before. From 0 to 60 million cases in a year. I don't remember 2009-10 as a horrible year for medical care when nothing could get done, in fact my dad started putting on a lot of hospital frequent flyer miles (heart, etc) back around then.

Using the numbers you cited, 0.4% of cases were hospitalized, and 0.02%. Current evidence suggests that the rate of hospitalization and the risk of death are significantly higher for Covid-19 than swine flu. Also, since H1N1 is a stand of influenza, antiviral medications like Tamiflu, Rapivab, and Relenza are effective in shortening the course, and there is some effectiveness from vaccines. We currently have no such antivirals or vaccines for Covid-19.

stephen cooper said...

We can tell as many stories as we want -

but at some point in time the virus had never been in a human,

and then at the next point in time one virus - just one - was on or in a human, ready to take advantage and replicate.

I suspect we will never exactly know how that happened, no matter how much evidence the scientists uncover.



What we do know is that there would be fewer zoonotic diseases if we treated animals better.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

At least one commenter mentioned that s/he is seeing oldsters jaunting about town as if nothing is wrong. There was resentment that s/he had to severely inconvenience her life for their protection.

You aren't seeing the ones who are staying home and being self-protective and responsible. It is a mistake people often make of believing the sample of evidence they are seeing is representative of the whole. A teenager is a jerk on the bus and we get upset at what jerks all teenagers are. We have a mild or harsh winter in our town and think it is evidence for or against climate change. We think health products must work because young attractive people are buying them, and look how healthy they are.

Believe data, not stories. Particularly not stories that fit your original prejudices.

stephen cooper said...

Assistant Village Idiot - well said.

and some of those apparent seniors might be people , like me, who absolutely will not accept ICU or even ventilator treatment if there is going to be triage on ICUs or ventilators.
No way I am going to accept that. I will just stay home, if it comes to that.
And, of course, there is no way I am going to expose anyone else to the Wuhan Flu if I have even the hint of symptoms.
Like you said, believe data, not stories, and don't be prejudiced.



We know very little about other people, as you pointed out, and we are too judgmental even about the people we know, usually.

Proverbs 8.

Nichevo said...

(range: 195,086-402,719)

Hospital admissions, from zero the year before. Assuming we have equal slack capacity in the system now, do the numbers and show me where you foresee over a half-million COVID-19 hospital admissions from 2020 to 2021. By July? September? Inauguration Day?

Also they are working on a vaccine and on drug therapies.

I guess you're a good son driving Tampa-Newark-Tampa to pick up your old man. Little over the top, ISTM, unless he's a unicorn of risk. A man engaged in the river pilot trade would not seem to be the first in line to drop dead of a superflu.

Nichevo said...

BTW J-Fo, I don't know if you're up on your NY Metro geography, but if you have the opportunity to pick him up on the New Jersey side, you will save yourself a good 2-3 hours, not to mention tolls, over picking him up in Brooklyn.