On lockdown in Krakow, Poland with Magdalena Zarębska-Wegrzyn, co-writer of IN TANDEM

We caught up with co-writer of IN TANDEM, Magdalena Zarębska-Wegrzyn, and asked her some questions about what it was like to write for this international collaboration across boarders during lockdown.

What was it like to write a play during lockdown?

Writing in lockdown seemed to be very easy. Finally, enough time to develop your ideas, make some creative exercises, try new narrative structures. But it’s not possible when you are not allowed to go out, meet the people, travel, go to the gym or walk in the park. So your reservoir of inspiration is becoming smaller, smaller. Finally, you have only your domestic experience, your every-day life and all these small things like cleaning, watching tv, reading books, home workout, feeding cat, cooking – your ordinary life similar to all ordinary lives.

What inspired you to write IN TANDEM?

When I heard about THE PLACE I CALL HOME Festival, I decided to make my ordinary, everyday life an epic inspiration; to write this text without searching for any spectacular plot or interesting characters. I wanted my characters to be as ordinary as it was possible. It was struggling every day and tried to make this story as simple as it could be. This process turned out very creative and I really found fun in it. Fortunately, I had strong support from Travis, Katie and Charlotte.

What helped you to write during lockdown despite all the challenges and restrictions to everyday life?

All these things helped me to spend lockdown in good mental health.

  • Yoga – I tried to pratice every day and I did some online classes as well
  • My cat Lidia – Best support in the world, calming and fluffy
  • Nature – It’s was so weird to observe how the seasons was changing. Communication with nature was the best treatment and therapy
  • Family – During lockdown we celebrated Easter, Polish Mother’s Day (26 May), 1st of June Polish Children’s Day (1 June)
  • Cooking – We didn’t hold back because we are foodies and we had enough food
  • Allotment life – When we were allowed to travel we visited our parents and did some allotment activites like planting and pulling the weeds
  • Coffee! Sometimes too much but it really helped to straighten the pose day after day

Below you can find a kind of ‘behind-the-scenes’ diary. Here are pictures from my Instagram that I uploaded during lockdown.

IN TANDEM is part of the THE PLACE I CALL HOME Festival.

Experience Lockdown in London and Krakow.

From online Drag Queen Zumba lessons, to keeping plants alive,  to a drastic lack of PPE – a mother and daughter try to maintain their relationship via regular Zoom calls from their separate London homes.

Meanwhile, a Polish couple stuck in the same home navigate their way through lockdown. He sees it as something to be endured or passed. She sees it as an opportunity for positive thinking, learning, and bettering herself. Will they ever be able to meet in the middle?

Delivered to you via email twice daily over three days – keep an eye on your inbox for an introduction from the writers themselves.

A Paines Plough and Theater Ludowy production.

Directed by Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner, Joint Artistic Directors, Paines Plough.

Cast: Sharon D. Clarke, Patrycja Durska, Leanne Henlon (LAMDA), Paweł Kumięga

Age Guidance: 12+

All digital performances are captioned.

Tickets are on sale till 6pm on Monday 26 October for £3.00.

Book tickets for IN TANDEM here.

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