As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to some of our favorite artists to see how they are coping with the self-isolation on a daily basis, both physically and creatively.
The series continues with actor and director Victoria Clark, who won Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her portrayal of Margaret Johnson in the Lincoln Center Theater production of the Tony-winning The Light in the Piazza. Clark, who was also Tony-nominated for her work in Gigi, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella, and Sister Act, was in the midst of directing Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell and Tony nominee Kate Baldwin in the City Center Encores! production of the rarely seen Love Life just prior to the closures of New York theatres. She has also taught in numerous universities and conservatories worldwide, including Yale University, Juilliard, and Pace University, where she directed The Light in the Piazza.
What is your typical day like now?
Even though I'm very much not a big routine person, I’m finding with this prolonged stay-at-home period, a little routine is both comforting and productive. So, I get up, make coffee, stretch, and do some yoga and breathing and a little meditation. Make a fruit salad for my husband and me. Walk the dog (in a bandana—me, not the dog) outside, rain or shine, anywhere from 6 to 10 miles total over the course of three walks. Attend to emails, phone calls, and projects I’m working on. Zoom private sessions with students. Zoom classes I’m teaching at Pace University. Read, research for the various projects in progress. Check in with friends and family. Sleep way more than is necessary! Clean drawers and closets when absolutely out of ideas for activities. Last resort, clean house.
Keep in mind, we will get through this. Like all crises, there is a life-cycle, and it will eventually come to an end!
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
I wouldn't try to prescribe the perfect recipe for everyone, as our needs and schedules are all so different; however, I've been relying on a combo of Governor Cuomo’s press conferences, Lester Holt and NBC Nightly News, MSNBC, CNN, HGTV (who doesn’t love before and after?), Saturday Night Live (brilliantly continuing their season remotely), Unorthodox (a must-see), Homeland, Billions, my new current obsession where I get to see tons of my friends and colleagues killing it (that’s you, David Costabile, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Richard Topol, Nina Arianda, and many more…).
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation?
Don’t wait for someone to call you. Call them. Repeatedly. Reach out on social media to your favorite performers and ask for a shout-out. Reach out to me—I’m happy to connect! We can get through this but only if we think in a pack mentality. Get to the park! Take a long walk. Listen to nature—it’s trying to teach us and comfort us. Keep in mind, we will get through this. Like all crises, there is a life-cycle, and it will eventually come to an end!
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
Keeping my body and mind active. Lots of moving around. Dancing for no reason, even if I don’t feel like it. I’m trying to finish up the reading I started before the shut-down, and start some new books, too. Excited about starting The Hidden Life of Trees (Peter Wohlleben) next, which a friend just sent to me. I obsessed over The Overstory (Richard Powers) which is a must-read for all nature lovers. My friend Martin Moran told me I had to read it, and he was right.
Are you working on any theatrical projects during this time?
I am! Three in development as a director (which I can’t talk about quite yet), one as an actor (which hasn’t been announced yet)—all of which I am very excited about, and they are keeping my soul afloat.