The Emanu-El Play Club held a Zoom reading of Kevin Kerr’s play Unity (1918) on Thursday, July 25, 2020. The club followed up their reading with a debriefing on the next Monday. Unity (1918) takes place in the fall of 1918, when a world ravaged by four years of war was suddenly hit by a mysterious and deadly plague—the “Spanish Flu.” The setting for the play is a small town in Saskatchewan. Our members were profoundly affected both by the reading experience and by the content of the play which raised themes and depicted experiences highly relevant in our COVID-19 world.
The club discussed the ideas raised by the play—the need to have an explanation for a catastrophic event, the surrender to anticipatory grief, the impact and availability of scientific knowledge on the individual & community response, and how the community response can deteriorate over time. The club is grateful to Rachel Ditor, our play club leader who arranged for our reading of this play and to the playwright Kevin Kerr for beautiful delivery of time and place in a thought provokingly and poetically delivered story that has incredible resonance with the current COVID-19 situation.