I finished teaching my final drama class today via Zoom. As I waved goodbye and wished a happy summer to the final stragglers who lived through a year on Zoom, the magnitude of the year hit me. I taught an entire cohort of students and I met them only once in person.
The bizarreness of this year doesn’t have to be explained to anyone. Each person has their own stories of how life has changed and how our human interactions have changed along with it. Two weeks ago I was able to bring in small groups of students to the school’s stage for them to have one opportunity to feel the lights in their eyes and perform a script to an empty auditorium.
Here’s what struck me the most about this experience:
- I didn’t recognize some of my students. Many were taller than I had pictured on Zoom. A few were shorter. Of course the masks didn’t help.
- The fun of being in-person and doing real drama can’t be duplicated on Zoom. Sure, there are adaptations that were made and some stage drama became filmed video drama, but that’s a paltry replacement of the real thing. The movement, the laughter, the jokes, the physical acknowledgment, the face and not the screen – all of these were so wonderful to experience once again.
- It won’t take long to get back to normal. Now, I’m not predicting when this will all end, but I firmly believe that once the masks are off and we are back in person, that slowly, slowly things will become normal. Our pre-pandemic actions will emerge and we’ll get the hang of crazing human interaction. It’s who we are. We’re not meant to be distant creatures, half-seen, with shorts and barefeet hidden out of site (as good as that all feels notwithstanding.) We will move on, we will forget, we will touch, and breath, and feel fully human again. I think this because as we interacted in our scripts, we all loosened up and it felt right – and that was only after 45 minutes together.
I’m happy to leave this year behind, and as the summer months fade, may we all be one step closer to remembering human experience in all its glory.