Five short films about viruses and lockdown throughout the ages
Samuel Pepys, a highly influential British naval administrator and frequent visitor to the Court of Charles II famously kept a detailed diary from 1660 to 1669. For Pepys and the inhabitants of London, there was no way of knowing whether an outbreak of the bubonic plague that occurred in the parish of St. Giles, a poor area outside the city walls, in late 1664 and early 1665 would become an epidemic
William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet between 1594–96, around the time of the London viral haemorrhagic plague, or bubonic plague, of 1592 to 1594. The plague was European wide, and was very much on Shakespeare’s mind. In fact, it is 16th Century lockdown regulations that seal the fate of our star struck fictional lovers. With Romeo banished to Padua, Friar Lawrence must send him a letter telling him that Juliet, although buried in her family tomb, is not dead and will eventually awake. But a lockdown means that the plan goes awry...
Pale Horse, Pale Rider
by Katherine Anne Porter
“Then I looked and saw a pale horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed close behind. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill by sword, by famine, by plague, and by the beasts of the earth”. Revelation 6:8.
In 1944, the American writer Katherine Anne Porter published a book of three astonishing ‘short novels’. This included, ‘Pale Horse, Pale Rider’. Set in 1918, it is the story of Miranda, a 24 year old girl who contracts the ‘Spanish flu’ virus. Throughout the world, Spanish Flu killed 500 million people – a third of the global population. In this passage, at the beginning of the story, Miranda dreams she must choose one of her beloved family horses to outrun the ‘Pale Horse’ and its rider, Death
In the Waiting Room
by David Bergman
“ Baltimore based US poet David Bergman’s work frequently deals with both personal history and queer sexuality. He says, “For LGBT people, poetry allowed (historically) a depth of expression that was not allowed in prose, and people could write about same-sex love in various ways. When we want to look at what is the deepest expression of a culture, we look to its poetry.“ Bergman's powerful and poignant poem 'In the Waiting Room' details the poet's participation in a research project involving 1,200 gay and bisexual men in Baltimore in the mid 1980's
In the final instalment of our five films on viruses and lockdown throughout the ages, Christine Clark reads, 'The Long Bench' by Jim Carruth. This short poem deals with the separation caused by lockdown and isolation and looks forward to a more joyous time when we can all be reunited.
Actor and poet Matthew Sharpe reads two powerful poems about the deaths of young African Americans at the hands of the police. BUDCo's contribution to the Black Lives Matter campaign.