The Autumn 2020 issue of Plays International & Europe is designed to respond to the needs of a sheltering-in-place readership. We all have limited access to theatre productions. Even if a few theatres have been permitted to stage shows respecting social distancing rules, many of us are hesitant to take the risk of attending them. So, we’ve brought the theatre to you in the form of six entertaining original short plays on the theme of the present virus pandemic. Several are comedies portraying ingenious ways of overcoming the solitude of social distancing, one is a satirical look at how coronavirus-driven economic downturns interfere with a wealthy family’s material wellbeing; and then there is a humorous study of the comfort of routine even if motivated by SARS-CoV-2 sanitary protocols; a couple of dramas are existential reflections on mortality.
This Autumn 2020 issue modestly returns to tradition in that we have a certain number of reviews in it –from London and the UK regions, Paris (an online show), and a number of American critiques of important pre-pandemic 2020 shows. There are also the first two of a series of articles Plays International & Europe will be carrying throughout 2021 on English language theatre companies located in European countries where English is not the native language. We’ve begun with Luxembourg and Milan. The insider report on how theatres in Berlin have reacted to closures is eye-opening.
The issue is chock-a-block with features you’ll enjoy reading in a favourite armchair. Senior theatre critics of the magazine Michael Ajzenstadt, Lawrence Bommer, and John Russell Taylor offer their thoughts on the various directions that theatre has taken in the last decades. There’s an interview with the artistic directors of Clean Break, a professional London theatre company of women who have been up against the legal system or who have undergone incarceration. A second interview with a theatre critic (after the interview with Michael Billington in the Spring 2020 issue) is in this autumn issue –with Ian Shuttleworth, who has left the UK permanently he claims.
As in the Summer 2020 issue, there are book reviews as well.
So, if you can’t go to the theatre, let this issue take theatre to you. It certainly doesn’t bode ill the way having Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane did for Macbeth. In fact, I wager you’ll enjoy yourself.
Dana Rufolo, editor-in-chief