An Endless Shift, written by Gloria Alcalà, Alma Davenport and Matthew Wright, directed by Matthew Wright and performed by Gloria Alcalà tells the stories of five healthcare professionals, four nurses and one respiratory therapist as they maneuvered and survived the Covid-19 pandemic.
The play retells the stories of these five professionals as told to the interviewer of Arts West. The play is a combination of "documentary theatre and storytelling." It aims to answer the question, how did the pandemic change you? This may appear like a seemingly simple question, but as the stories unfold, the complexity of the question is felt.
The four nurses and one respiratory therapist share their stories of triumph, fear and loss. There were many emotional and heartfelt moments in the show. One nurse would advise family members to say goodbye to the patient-- just in case. She developed a sixth sense of knowing who would most likely pass away. Others recall not having enough supplies or ventilators and witnessing the hospital turn away patients. The bravery exhibited by the five and countless other healthcare professionals is unsurmountable. They faced policies that changed from day to day, sometimes even in a matter of hours. They went days, sometimes weeks, without seeing their families. They even had to deal with the hatred and anger of some patients. Some families believed the healthcare industry was responsible for the virus and refused to receive medical attention. Later this sentiment would trickle to ill feelings about being vaccinated. Some stated there were moments when they feared for their lives.
An Endless Shift is a record of five courageous medical professionals. The overall performance provides an intimate and honest recount of their experiences. There were moments when the healthcare workers' voices were not clearly distinguishable. It is a big feat to portray five distinct voices, after all. Therefore, this play could lend itself to being a full-cast play. It certainly has the storytelling and engagement factor down.
An Endless Shift offers hope for humanity. Humans are resilient and caring. And when they work together, the world can be "less scary."
"An Endless Shift"
Performed by Gloria Alcalà Written by: Gloria Alcalà, Alma Davenport, Matthew Wright
Directed by Matthew Wright
March 8, 2023
The Spring 2023 United Solo Festival
March 7th - March 26th, 2023
410 West 42nd (btw 9th and 10th Avenue)
Yani Perez, M.F.A, is a poet, playwright, translator, and educator. Her plays have been presented in various theaters in the United States such as La Mama and Yale University as well as internationally in Bogotá, Colombia. She works at IATI Theater, one of the oldest Latinx theaters in NYC. She is currently working on translations of Latinx artists in hopes of introducing them to English-speaking audiences.