A powerful and entertaining take on the last 18 months, ’The Covid-19 Variations: A Piano Drama’ is a unique and outrageously funny film and concert in one starring everyone from Donald Trump and Elton John to Kanye West and even the Royal Family – because everyone has lived through Covid.
The production is composed by Olivier Award-winning, Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer the Opera) after having Covid twice himself.
Richard said; “I remember calling my pianist friend, Phil on a beautiful spring day. He was in New York and I was in South London. I felt terrible.
“He felt terrible. We were two aching, tired, moaning musicians worried about whether we’d ever get out s*** together after this hideous illness.
“After the moaning we started laughing. I said I’m sure there’s gold in here somewhere. A few days later the idea popped into my head.
“The Covid-19 Variations; 19 short pieces charting the course of some poor soul starting out with the best of intentions and ending up with the worst of infections. It was irresistible."
Inspired by his music, BAFTA-winning artist Alison Jackson has created 19 short films which will be played on stage for each of the Covid-19 Variations, drawn from her world of fake news, alternative facts, and celebrity lookalikes, and commemorating life in the time of Covid.
Alison commented on her contribution to this unique production; “Covid has been a terrible time for all of us! I have been imagining what it was like for all the celebrities to be locked in, no red carpet, no camera flashes, no going out and about - Richard Thomas’s music has been incredibly inspiring to make film about what celebrities could be doing in private during this time.”
Featuring a Gershwinesque 23 minute riff, the music will be performed live on stage by world-renowned pianist Philip Edward Fisher. Speaking of his involvement in the project, he said; “My mind drifts back to April of 2020. Suffering a truly unpleasant Covid infection, I was isolating alone in my apartment in New York. I remember vividly my astonishment as my friend Richard Thomas - suffering from Covid in London - began sending me the first drafts of a new musical work inspired by the pandemic…
“I could scarcely believe how evocatively they captured so many aspects of life in Covid times - from the universal and sometimes comical experiences of lockdown that we all understand to the sobering world of dis-ease that is experiencing the virus itself. ‘The Covid 19 Variations’ is a work that is in equal measure funny, insightful, and deeply moving; a "piano drama” in the truest sense.”
The Covid-19 Variations is Directed by The REP’s Artistic Director and Olivier Award winner, Sean Foley. Sean added; “This is a unique show: an opportunity for fans of film, live concert music, comedy, and anyone who’s ever gawped at the lives of celebrities, to come together and be entertained by this special take on our Covid influenced times.
“After the past 18 months we are all in need of a laugh, and Richard Thomas’s witty musical exploration of a world turned upside down is wonderfully accompanied by Alison Jackson’s ever-topical filmic exploration of celebrity. Played live in concert by Birmingham bred world class pianist Philip Edward Fisher, I can’t wait to bring this one-off event to The Rep.”
Each performance will be followed by an ‘In Conversation’ with Sean Foley, Alison Jackson, Richard Thomas, Philip Edward Fisher, and the audience.
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