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UNDER THE MASK Will Tour Beginning in June

Under The Mask is presented as an audio installation produced especially for socially-distanced audiences.  

UNDER THE MASK Will Tour Beginning in June

Under The Mask is the extraordinary debut play by Shaan Sahota, inspired by her experiences as a frontline doctor during the Covid pandemic in 2020. Touring theatres, Under The Mask is presented as an audio installation produced especially for socially-distanced audiences.

Using fully-immersive, 360-degree binaural sound recorded on location in Covid wards, Under The Mask places its audience at the heart of a remarkable story of fortitude and hope. Sat on stage, each under their own lighting stage, audience members experience the play directly through personal headphones.

In March 2020, hundreds of final year medical students finished their studies early and started work on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic. Under The Mask is the story of one of them - 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.

Recorded partly on location, the production shares the sounds and experiences of the ward: 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.

Shaan Sahota, playwright: "I am really pleased that my play can be staged now. As we start to return to normality, I think now is the time to reflect and process what we have lived through. I hope Under the Mask can play a part in this and shine a light on the cloistered world of critical care, where the pandemic lived and breathed. I personally am so excited to sit in a theatre with an audience, to experience this story together, and try to make sense of this last year."

Fin Kennedy, Artistic Director at Tamasha: "Under The Mask is the thrilling debut by Shaan Sahota, a phenomenally talented new playwright who Tamasha is proud to have trained. Originally inspired by a moving first-person article about her work in Covid ICUs, it has proved to be a powerful subject matter for an experiment in binaural sound. The result gives every listener a first-person perspective of what a generation of young doctors experienced, and the profound existential questions which working at the interface of life and death inevitably brings up."

Laura Elliot, Programme Director at Oxford Playhouse: "Oxford Playhouse is hugely excited about this new co-production with Tamasha, one of a number of new Oxford Playhouse commissions which have been created especially for socially distanced audiences. Under The Mask is an extraordinary debut play by Shaan Sahota, based on a real-life account of being on the NHS front line of the pandemic. Designed and directed to immerse audiences at the heart of the story through a unique binaural sound design, it's an experience not to be missed."

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