How are you? It’s rough right now, isn’t it? Even if neither your financial nor medical situation is particularly desperate, the awful uncertainty in the air is still overwhelming. The relentless onslaught of terrifying statistics and speculation on our social media feeds is really too much.
How long will this last? How bad will things get? What will the world look like afterwards? We’re all hovering in a weird limbo between hope and anxiety—with frequent, sudden and intense lifts and falls. Huddled inside, trying to keep ourselves and our neighbours safe, joy isn’t easy to find or sustain, but it is still vital.
fu-GEN Theatre, always innovative and relevant, has your back. To facilitate the creation of joyful experiences, they have gathered eight artists for Online Joy Edit, a project designed to alleviate some of the dread by bringing people together for one-on-one virtual interactions.
On the fu-GEN site, there are descriptions of each artist’s contribution and a variety of time slots available through to April 4. Most are accessed through the Zoom video conferencing app. You are given a meeting ID and then log on at the appointed time. Each utilizes the specific personality or creative impulses of the artist. Within each piece, the specific experience will vary from person to person.
From candlelight readings of cringe-inducing blog posts to virtual romance, the options are whimsical and offbeat.
The first I checked out was a brief interlude with Janice Jo Lee’s endearing Pompom. She’s stuck at home and wants to share with you the joy that can be found in random household objects. As the instructions indicate, you will need to have a big bowl and a spoon ready. For what? Well, you have to visit Pompom to discover her playful plans.
The second interaction I had was Aaron Jan’s Joy Bot. This happened through Facebook Messenger. Joy Bot is a robot currently in isolation and yearning for insights into the human experience. Through a series of questions, Joy Bot learns about what makes you happy and collects your joy. You might be surprised by the memories that pop up.
Both interactions I participated in made explicit reference to the isolation we are currently experiencing. The characters offer up their own fear and uncertainty as a gesture of good faith, making the space they create feel vulnerable yet comforting.
These interactions—or, at least, the ones I had—are small, intimate, and childlike in their simplicity. They aren’t meant to challenge or provoke or educate. You can find resources all over the internet for that! And if you want to stream full performances of plays and operas and movies—those are also readily available. But if commitment isn’t something that appeals to you right now, Online Joy Edit offers brief, playful encounters to keep your spirits up while the world around us feels so precarious.
And they are free! Though, if it is within your means, you do have the option to tip the artists.
So, if you’re feeling kinda lonely, a little scared or just plain bored, fifteen minutes of kooky fun could make things seems a little brighter.