Katie Jacobson

Stories of Wisdom from Bodies in Separation (SWaBS):
Archiving the Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Lens of Humanities


Isolation, stigma, and nuance in the time of a pandemic

by Katie Jacobson

This is a one-act play for stage or screen, of 30 to 40 minutes in length, written by playwright Katie Jacobson. The play features a woman in her thirties navigating life during the pandemic. It begins and ends with the subject in the central location of her home. The only communication she has with others during the play is with her roommate in another room, through phone calls, virtual meetings for work, and online gatherings with friends. The main character narrates for the audience or reads outloud from her journal throughout the production while she explores the many ways that life has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic began. She talks about her feelings of isolation, the many new forms of online communication, mental health challenges, seeking therapy, turning to spirituality, “Zoom fatigue”, dating during a pandemic, socially distanced outdoor activities, taking risks in seeing friends and the worry that results. She mentions other significant topics from 2020 including the presidential election year, the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the protests that followed, and the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The last segment of the play follows a moment of heightened anxiety and feelings of being alone. The woman then informs the audience that she has contracted COVID-19 and is quarantining at home in isolation. She recounts her quarantine experience, her contacts with friends, getting tested for COVID-19, having empathy for others, and the collective and individual experiences of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Katie says of her script that it is “a narrative as to how the pandemic created feelings of isolation among many, even though there are more ways to connect today than there have ever been in history.” Katie adds that in the play, “visual and sound effects would be used to show that the protagonist is never really alone, but still feels lonely and isolated.”







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Stories of Wisdom from Bodies in Separation (SWaBS): Archiving the Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Lens of Humanities has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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