Normal for Now


From The Writer: Nate Cesco

When Afsheen asked me to develop this anthology series based on some thoughts he’d been having around lockdown, it took a bit to realize how universal the experiences were in the spring of 2020. I wanted to explore how lockdown impacted our relationships. From our personal relationships, to work friendships, even our relationship with our art. Like most everyone, Afsheen and I had our lives flipped upside down in March. We both suffered job loss, we both lost our creative outlets, and it took a toll on our social lives. Everyone alive at the time had some set of events that defined the year for them, and most of them were directly related to the pandemic. It was tough to sift through all the variables, or possible events that could happen to people, just to tell a handful of stories. It seemed like a million things could go wrong. How could we get away with just telling 4 stories? It finally clicked.

Isolation. Frustration. Striving to overcome the situation. The depression that comes when you feel like you can’t overcome. Even though Afsheen and I had wildly different experiences in lockdown, I realized that only the specifics were different, the core problems weren’t. That’s how I went about developing these stories. We talked at length about what each of these characters would go through. When it came time to write dialogue, I was often writing some version of something I had said to myself in lockdown. It was surreal.

Luckily I got to lace a lot of my personal struggles into each story. Yes, I did try to set up a live stream when live stand up comedy ended. Yes, my romantic life was really tumultuous right at the beginning of the pandemic and I found unhealthy ways to cope. Everything has its degree of truth, but when the world experiences collective trauma you start to realize our capacity to empathize with others’ trauma. When I showed Afsheen the scripts they all resonated with him in a unique way. The same for the cast and crew. It wasn’t hard to imagine each other’s suffering. The moments and characters hit a little different for everyone, but it wasn’t hard to bring a bit of ourselves into every bedroom of every episode.

And as I wrote I knew having a director like Afsheen to bring the stories to life meant that every story was in good hands. I knew every detail would be considered. That he would add entirely new dimensions between every line of dialogue and action. I’m ridiculously proud of what I was able to write, and how Afsheen (And Taylor, Kadin, Neely, Barry, Paige, & Emily) were able to bring the scripts to life. I hope the stories are as relatable to your time in lockdown as they were to ours, and I hope you're in a much better place now than we all were back then.

-Nate Cesco (Twitter, Instagram)

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