An actor on the stage at the Queen’s Theatre, in Hornchurch, on her own. Limited setting and lighting. No audience. This is Here I Am. It’s been three months, and the ghost light is set on the empty stage, where it still shines.
A performer (played by co-deviser Danielle Flett) returns to the stage, waiting for her audience to return. Her words are yours: over a thousand responses from audience members in lockdown translating into a “loving patchwork of encounters that share the collective voice of an extraordinary community”.
Lockdown is, of course, the main subject of discourse. The lack of human contact. The pause button that was pressed three months ago and now has a finger hovering over it, waiting for some kind of normality to return. Some kind of normality, because births, deaths and anniversaries still happen. Love affairs blossom long distance. And over it all, the threat of a creeping, invisible pandemic.
This piece runs each evening from 24-26 June, live, at 7.30pm on the theatre’s YouTube channel. It lasts 35 minutes but it is here and now, in real time on a stage, and it is beautiful. Filmed by Zbigniew Kotkiewicz, the show has close and mid-shots, but a sense of warmth and intimacy a human on stage shares with other humans, watching.
Sometimes playful, sometimes political, sometimes realistic, sometimes moving, Here I Am is a thank you to those who engage with theatre, those who provide it, and those who energise it. It is a fundraiser, too: head to the theatre’s website to donate what you can.