Review: Here We Are

by Lynn on May 16, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

Written and read by Erin Shields

I’m late with this. Sorry. But this is still up on the Crow’s Theatre Website and I urge you to give a listen and read along because the text is provided.

Erin Shields is a wonderful playwright.  And now with Here We Are one can add “poet” because the piece sounds like an extended, dense poem of what Shields has observed in this year of COVID lockdown. Her observations are keen, sharp, precise, angry, frustrated, loving, kind and hopeful. She has documented the minutiae of events and emotions surrounding those events and reads about them in a soft, calm yet emphatic voice. Mesmerizing.  

I noted so many compelling phrases and observations while listening intently:

“….waiting for change that will never come; respectful; ‘a few bad apples’, ‘fucking looters’, ‘it’s systemic’, corrected pronouns, and unconscious biases; we love singing. We Are Here. We are present, but absent; children; what is that hum?…Locusts. There is no coming back from a plague. Let us out! Most of us are lonely; all of us are trying to be kind. Do the research! …everything we do doesn’t seem to be enough. Racism—pain we boil in our human skin. Democracy has triumphed if only we can ride out the second wave. “Stop the steal!” “Back up! Back Up! Back Up!….until the poet takes the stage. We mesmerized by her calm, by her grace and passion and certainty, by her confidence that we have what it takes to work together. Quite frankly we thought poets were a thing of the past. But this poet draws a line from history to action. She acknowledges pain and dreams of a future we can all surely get behind. The hill, the struggle, the potential for unity. That’s what we want, what we long for, what we need. Yes, we all fall in love with the poet.

….we have a way of coping now. It’s not ideal. …We hope it’s enough to last until spring. Another winter almost weathered. We will emulate our elders. We will eat with our friends. We will greet one another with handshakes or hugs or a kiss on either cheek…We will sing in choirs; dance in clubs or at parties or at street festivals with neighbours and co-workers and friends and family. We will take advantage of every opportunity…every moment to gather to share to live. We Are Here.”


The website for Crow’s says this is available until May 15, but I just listened (May 16) and it’s still there. Give a listen!

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