Reflecting on a year of COVID, Zoom dance parties, and sitting in necessary discomfort

11.20.20 | Tatiana Baccari
Hi y’all. It feels so good to be in this space with you again. I’ve realized that in cultivating this writing practice every week, I’ve begun to look forward to the time when I get to sit down to think, reflect, and write to you. If you’re new here, my name is Tatiana and I’m a multidisciplinary theater/filmmaker. I have a company where I make/develop new performance-based work called Experimental Bitch Presents. You can read more about us and what we do at our website www.ExperimentalBitchPresents.com
We’re nearing the end of Experimental Bitch’s 2020 season and with it brings a potent mix of emotions. My therapist would point out that I am averse to moments of being in between, at the nexus of one thing ending and the next beginning. Gig-based arts workers will tell you that our livelihood and career often depends on juggling multiple projects at once; a necessary reality to keeping our work steady. Usually, I thrive on this. There is nothing I love more than creating, directing or producing a new play, experience, or event. The more I can line up at once, the better I feel. But since the pandemic hit, I’ve been painfully aware of how this competitive mindset in which I reduce myself, my creativity and my ideas to an output machine of cruel efficiency perpetuates neoliberal capitalism. And I am a human not a machine! (If you’re looking to learn more about this, watch this excellent video)    
If you’re someone like me whose brain is usually thinking five steps ahead and is prone to anxiety, these necessary moments of pause can be, well, anxiety-producing. And since COVID hit, there have been a lot more of them. On the one hand, this brings a welcome break to rest, recover and recharge. Slowing down brings time for reflection, to celebrate the moments of collaboration and success and sit with the moments of difficulty. On the other hand, it can lead to judgement and feelings of inadequacy. So, I’m going to look back at my year with you. I will celebrate the beauty, love, successes and joy. I will acknowledge the difficult. And I will make space for my discomfort, for my awareness that I don’t know exactly what comes next, and that I haven’t yet achieved in my arts practice what I dream about for my future.   
This year has been a monumental journey with loss, grieving, resilience, and innovation. Here’s a look back at some of the projects I did this year and the moments that have mattered most to me.

JANUARY

I started 2020 directing a live, in-person, glorious workshop of a new play I am developing with playwright, Emma Goldman-Sherman, called Tanya’s LIT CLIT. Working with associate producer, Allison Houser, Emma, and our incredible cast was such a dream. I am so excited to continue developing this play toward production in 2021-22.

 

FEBRUARY

Jagged Little Pill was the last live show I got to see on Broadway before the shut-down and damn was it a good one. I may or may not have a huge crush on Lauren Patten, who is now nominated for a Tony for her portrayal of Jo.

MARCH-MAY


One of the best things I learned how to do during quarantine was tandem kayak. Paddling through St. Pete’s mangrove preserves is like entering some kind of ancient, magical world.

 

JUNE

Although this was supposed to be another live workshop, we held a virtual workshop of Tanya’s LIT CLIT that included a talkback with a panel of women who work in the medical industry. It was incredibly challenging to adapt our presentation for the screen, but I came out of the process grateful to the entire team, especially our actors. It gave some valuable insight into our next steps for development.

 

JULY

I co-produced MAKIN WAVES, a virtual pool party fundraiser benefitting EBP and Arts Business Collaborative, which sponsors incredible projects benefitting artists of color. We ended with an epic dance party that honestly rivals any in person dance party I’ve been to…

 

AUGUST

I GOT ENGAGED!

 

SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER

I had the pleasure of creative producing IN THE KITCHEN, an interactive, at-home culinary theater experience this fall. It was incredibly challenging to manage all of the pieces to this play, including a mail-order box with recipe ingredients and an accompanying audio play, but it turned out to be a beautiful, impactful, COVID-safe theater experience.

 

NOVEMBER

I am currently directing and developing a web-series called New Nostalgias. We are hoping to film a 10 minute pilot in January in Tampa/St. Pete

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