In just under thirteen minutes Jodyanne Richardson delivers a moving and thoughtful monologue by the writer Judy Upton. Truck driver, Hannah shares her experiences of working through the coronavirus lockdown and describes an unnerving incident involving a White Hart which took place the night before while she was out on the road.
Drivers are now confined to separate areas in the loading bays and banned from using staff toilets. She feels they are being treated like ‘lepers’ tucked into these spaces eating homemade food and drinking ‘lukewarm’ coffee from flasks as the usual coffee making facilities they use are in the taped off areas they can no longer access.
Themes of loneliness and alienation run throughout this monologue. Hannah describes missing small details from her working day which for her have been changed to nights. The smiles have been replaced with face masks at her regular depots. To the point where she cannot work out whether the security guard she knows was Steve or Dave behind the mask and with social distancing, in place, her normal chats with supermarket shelf stackers are no longer allowed.
The significance of seeing The White Hart dates back to Arthurian legend. This mysterious animal rarely appears yet when it does it supposedly represents change and apparently, only appears during times of turmoil. Which Hannah finds “slightly unnerving”. It’s questionable as to whether she actually saw this creature and it hasn’t been bought on by tiredness and stress as Hannah finds no evidence on her truck that she had hit the deer as she first assumed.
Richardson’s performance has opened my eyes to how these new working conditions have changed truck drivers a day to day lives. The solo jobs they carry out have almost alienated them from society during lockdown to ensure deliveries have got through. I would think these changes have made their lives very stressful at times.
The platform scenesaver are now showing performances from Off West End Theatres and other Fringe venues from around the world. Giving these productions a virtual stage to show their work from. The scenesaver link is available below, you just need to register for free in order to enter the site. If you are in a position to donate towards any of these shows it would be really appreciated.
Caley Powell set up The Light on in January 2018 to produce female-led new writing and created Showcase in May 2020. The White Hart is just one of the pieces produced during the lockdown and in their press release have said: “we didn’t want the lockdown to stop us from creating and promoting new female-led work”. They have most certainly managed to achieve their aim. Please have a look piece and other work available using the links below.