Clare Norburn's new online play with music Love in the Lockdown follows medieval musician Emilia (Rachael Stirling) and playwright Giovanni (Alec Newman) in the early stages of an intense relationship, which starts with awkward early Zoom dates just before the first UK lockdown in 2020.
★★★★"charming...already a little hooked" Patrick Marmion, Daily Mail
Over 3 months, the separated lovers get closer and work on a project together, inspired by the book The Decameron by Boccaccio. Boccaccio placed The Decameron as a “14th Century box set” of 100 stories told by young people to while away their quarantine during the Black Death in Florence in 1348. Giovanni plans to reimagine The Decameron, drawing out parallels with the COVID-19 pandemic, while Emilia and her ensemble, played by The Telling, plan the music.
★★★★★ "at least as appealing as Tennant & Sheen in the BBC’s Staged" Pocket Size Theatre
They put together films of music from the 14th century by Guillaume de Machaut, Johannes Ciconia, Francesco Landini, Gherardello da Firenze and anon, which will form part of the final show.
But a number of forces are at work to challenge the lovers and test their relationship – not least Giovanni’s wayward mother and Venetia Lemming-Brown (Leila Mimmack), a TV Commissioning Editor who wants to sprinkle the show with TV magic, which could mean no medieval music – and no Emilia.