Amy Lehpamer on Cooking, Writing, and Supporting the Arts in the Time of Covid 19
Welcome to The Distancing Diaries, where we chat with members of the theatre community about how they’re staying creative and inspired in the time of social distancing. Theatre is a refuge and safe haven for artists and audiences alike, and while we can’t go to a show (for now), we hope that by sharing stories from the field, you’ll find comfort, solace, and maybe a few new ideas of how to pass the time.
We chatted with star of Australian theatre Amy Lehpamer, who has starred in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” “School of Rock,” and “The Sound of Music. She shared some of her favorite films she’s watching in quarantine, how isolation has brought her and her boyfriend closer together, and why supporting the arts is so important right now.
What is keeping you inspired during this time? Is there anything specific that you’re turning to for inspiration?
The silver lining of everything coming to a standstill is that I have been able to move in with my love after a long stint of long distance. Thankfully, all the extra time together has only proved how well we live and talk and debate and play together.
How are you staying creative? (And if you’re using this time for a creative pause, that’s okay too!)
I’m trying to be okay with just trying! I have been playing a lot more violin, and I attempt to write something every day. I do a timed 15-minute free form blather and sometimes get inspired to extend the thread of thought from there. I’m aiming to start putting more structure in to some ideas in the coming weeks and develop them, but as I said, I am trying to be okay with just getting the words down for now.
How are you practicing self-care?
I know that if I don’t move my body every day, I am likely to reach tired-toddler-at-the-supermarket levels of restlessness by the end of the day. I walk, sometimes jog, and mostly do some kind of yoga or Pilates. I’ve found talking to friends regularly to be super important, too.
What is something (or a few things) great that you’ve watched?
I jumped on the “Normal People” train and I wasn’t disappointed. My boyfriend and I did a bit of a “favourite movies that the other one of us hadn’t seen” exchange. His offers were “Withnail and I” and “I Love You To Death.” My contributions were “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Waiting for Guffman.”
What is something that you’ve enjoyed reading?
I’ve been reading the internet daily. All of it, I’m pretty sure. There’s been lots of graphs. You’ve probably seen them.
What are you listening to?
Some of my regular podcast listens were getting a little bleak in the time of Covid, so music has been a big solace. There’s been some terrific new releases, too. The new Perfume Genius, and Laura Marling’s “Song for our Daughter” have been on high rotation.
Have you gotten into cooking or baking? What’s something that you’ve enjoyed making, and if you can, can you share the recipe?
I have never cooked this much in my life. The NY Times cooking app has been fun to explore, though google gets a good workout from all the imperial to metric conversions I now have to do. Fellow performers Zoy Frangos and Elisa Colla have started a little cooking blog (anitalianandagreek on Instagram and FB) and they upload recipes of deliciousness regularly. I think everyone in music theatre has made their Tahini and Dark Chocolate cookies, and every one of us is happier for it. I think I’ve made them four times so far. Check it out. You won’t be sorry.
How are you staying physically and vocally healthy?
I’m very thankful to be sleeping well through all this. Maybe too well some days. My exercise discipline is pretty good, which is a habit I’ve made from touring so much. And I’ve been singing for fun quite regularly, which I don’t often do when I’m in a show.
How do you think people can support theater and the arts community (both financially and not) and engage with it during this time?
I’m really proud of the theatre communities for their continual creativity through this time, and the fight being shown in trying to get government attention and support for the arts. Every little bit from arts lovers helps, I think, from maintaining engagement with our social feeds to writing to your local member about the arts, to buying virtual tickets to online performances. We need audiences, and our audiences need us, too. If we all keep talking about the greatness of theatre and live performance, if we all keep its magic alive in the public consciousness, it’ll find its way back.