Following my last post of the 22nd of February a lot of things changed in my life. Among the many I happened to make a new friend who will stay around me for quite a long time. His name is Covid and I bumped into him almost unexpectedly. Given that Covid is an acute narcissist (as all actors are I guess) he wasn’t happy with taking a minor role in this part of my life. He therefore decided to become the absolute protagonist.
As a result, he made us cancel all of our company’s shows for the month of March (about 19 dates) which we had scheduled in the North and Centre of Italy. On top of that he was so jealous he would not get our full attention that he made us cancel a couple of evening shows as well. As you can imagine Covid got my attention all right. After all, taking a Master’s Degree in virology has always been my life dream so I couldn’t resist jumping at the opportunity of befriending him.
What is impressive is the speed at which things have changed. The two British actresses that were supposed to tour with me with our new show #VIRGINIE landed in Italy on the 22st of February.
Within the span of 3 days I had to take the decision of cancelling all of our shows and make them fly back to the UK (where they arrived safely yesterday). The timeline is something like this:
22st February, Katie and Tabby (fictional names) landed in Milan – 19 coronavirus infections had been reported the day before in the North of Italy in the so-called red zone around the city of Codogno, Lumbardy .
Night of the 22nd February – 77 Covid-19 cases are now reported. The red zone is cordoned off.
23rd of February – I take Katie and Tabby to lunch and to visit the city of Turin. 146 coronavirus cases are reported across several regions of the North. The Regions of Piedmont, Lumbardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Trentino, Liguria (pretty much all of the North of Italy) announce the closing of schools and all activities with gatherings of people (e.g. dance clubs, sport events, and theatre shows). I receive calls for a number of friends: their shows have all being cancelled. The carnival of Milan is shut down. Venice soon follows.
24th of February – 229 infection cases detected. All activities in the red-zone are banned by the government for two weeks. Residents cannot get out and nobody is allowed inside. I stay on the phone for over 4 hours with teachers, friends, theatre managers. The situation looks really bad. In theory we have 5 shows near and ‘inside the red zone’ and news are that other regions of the country are reporting infections. I speak with Katie and Tabby about the situation.
25th of February – 325 infection cases. I get my Master’s Degree in virology and I decide to cancel all the shows for the month of March. I consult with Katie and Tabby offering them to book an early flight to the UK.
26th of February – 451 infection cases. I haven’t slept all night. In the night I take Katie and Tabby to the airport. They fly back to the UK around 6 am. I return home and call individually each theatre manager, technician and anyone else involved in tour. We will freeze any activity across the board for a month and see how things develop.
Night of the 26th of February. I collapse into bed due to lack of sleep.
Morning of the 27th of February – 474 infections cases reported as I’m writing this. My life has changed. I have a new best friend. We’re going to be pals for a long-time.
Welcome to my life Covid.