LEWISBURG — In this timely film available for a limited time, dancers portray a range of emotions while narrators tell stories of front-line veterans and health care workers dealing with the coronavirus.
The Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University is offering a virtual performance of “This is Me: Letters from the Front Lines,” available from Feb. 24 through March 2.
Created by DIAVOLO, a Los Angeles-based dance company, the film is 35 minutes and will be available on an unlimited basis throughout the viewing period. As stated in a press release, “The performance is dedicated to all of the veterans for their service, commitment and sacrifice and to all of our COVID-19 first responders for their dedication, selflessness, resilience and heroism.”
“Diavolo is recognized worldwide for their innovative, athletic and emotional aesthetic sensibility,” said Kathryn Maguet, executive director of the Weis Center. “‘This is Me’ is particularly timely and relevant as we take a moment to honor and pay tribute to front-line workers, true warriors, who are battling this invisible enemy every day. This moving piece shines a light and pays tribute to these workers.”
Adding perspective to the performance is a 30-minute, pre-taped panel discussion, with filmmakers and local leaders sharing their thoughts on COVID-19, what we’ve learned from it and what we need to do as we move forward.
“The pre-performance panel discussion features brilliant dialogue and insight from a panel of experts from DIAVOLO, Evangelical Community Hospital, Geisinger and Bucknell University,” Maguet said. “I encourage everyone to tune into this valuable and informative conversation.”
Panel members are:
- Jacques Heim, founder and artistic director, DIAVOLO
- France Nguyen Vincent, writer and dramaturg of “This Is Me: Letters from the Front Lines”
- David Rovnyak, Bucknell University professor of chemistry and Bucknell/Geisinger liaison
- Marie C. Pizzorno, Bucknell University associate professor of biology and cell biology/biochemistry
- Frederick Weiss, MD, radiologist, Geisinger
- Kendra Aucker, president & CEO, Evangelical Community Hospital
- B. James Connolly, MD, medical director of Emergency Services, Evangelical Community Hospital
Battling the coronavirus is not the same as combat, Dr. Connolly said during the panel discussion, but it has a similar feel.
“This has probably been the hardest thing I can imagine doing as a physician,” he said. “There have been a lot of people in the community who have been tremendously supportive, but there have been a lot of people who haven’t, and that has been so hard to deal with … trying to convince people that this is real and we need to take it serious.”
Pizzorno noted that the COVID-19 vaccines build on decades of coronavirus research by scientists across the globe, and that research is ongoing.
“This is the third novel coronavirus to have jumped from animal species to humans in the last twenty years,” she said. “This new virus is much more contagious. Bats maintain a population of their own coronaviruses and some have the capacity to jump to humans.”
As researchers study and prepare for upcoming viruses, frontline workers continue to bring the benefits of modern medical knowledge and human concern to their patients. “This is Me” gives viewers a glimpse of the toll that care can take on the care providers.
Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Email comments to her at CindyOHerman@gmail.com