Under The Maskby Shaan Sahota. Directed by Sita Thomas
A Tamasha and Oxford Playhouse co-production. Supported by Sennheiser
– How do I live with myself if someone gets hurt because of my mistake?
– How do you live with yourself if you walk away?
In March 2020, hundreds of final year medical students finished their studies early, and started work on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is the story of one of them, a newly qualified doctor, Jaskaran.
On her first day at work, Jaskaran is deployed to her hospital’s Covid Intensive Care Unit. Nothing prepares her for what she finds.
Rows of intubated patients, the rhythmic hiss of ventilators, the screech of alarms indicating abnormal vital signs, the constant rolling of paralysed bodies to prevent bed sores, the pain and blisters of wearing full PPE for 12 hour shifts, and the crying relatives saying goodbye via Skype….
This burden was carried alone by a generation of young doctors and nurses, who couldn’t even get a hug from their parents, in case they passed the virus on.
New writer Shaan Sahota is a junior doctor who lived this experience. She is also a member of the 2020 Tamasha Playwrights group.
UNDER THE MASK is Shaan’s extraordinary debut, recorded on location using sound gathered in real Covid wards, using fully immersive, 360-degree binaural sound. This installation brings you, the audience, onto the stage. Seated in your own chair, lit by your own lighting state, listening through headphones to this fully immersive, 360-degree binaural experience you will be at the heart of this remarkable story of fortitude and hope.
Portrait by paper collage artist Rosalind Freeborn www.paperface.co.uk
We are grateful to the Culture Recovery Fund for supporting Tamasha, especially during these unprecedented times.
Written by Shaan Sahota
Directed by Sita Thomas
Sound Designer Farokh Soltani
Lighting Designer Ashley Bale
Dramaturgy Fin Kennedy
Technical Stage Manager Kieran Enticknap