From a creative perspective, the first thought on some people’s minds during the pandemic is “What kind of art will come of this?” Screenwriters and producers are scrambling to create original film and television programs inspired by COVID-19. Meanwhile, a Dallas actress is already ahead of the game.
On a new web series called Covid Couple: A Pandemic Love Story, Plano-based actress Mia Moreland plays Dana Dinkins, a woman who is on the verge of divorce from her husband, Doug, played by Dan Remmes. To take her mind off the dissolution of her marriage, Dana takes her kids to England while Doug remains in the States. The day Dana and the kids are scheduled to go home, a travel ban is enacted, leaving them stuck in England.
“The couple is now forced to communicate and potentially plan their divorce via Zoom video chat, and each episode is a snippet of those conversations,” Remmes says of the show. “Of course, nothing is ever as it seems. With each new episode, there are revelations and plot twists. And we plan to keep relevant to the real world. What happens when the travel ban eases and Dana can easily return to the U.S.? Will she?”
Remmes is filming from New York City, while Moreland is in Dallas. Every Friday, new episodes of Covid Couple premiere on YouTube and on the official website. Since beginning production on Covid Couple, both Remmes and Moreland have said they’ve ran into a few difficulties, technical and personal. Both actors have two children, and their spouses are working from home. Remmes says that he has even gone as far as taping a sign that reads “ON AIR” to the office door while he’s recording, hoping that no family members interrupt the taping.
While Moreland’s character, Dana, is filming from England, the fact that Moreland is filming from Dallas poses a challenge, as sometimes she will be visibly red and sweaty from the Texas heat.
“Family life and having everyone at home requires a little juggling,” Moreland says, “I have notoriously patchy WiFi at my house, so that can be a challenge. But at the same time, having access to video conferencing software has afforded us this incredible opportunity to try something new and work together again while being 1,600 miles apart, so in that respect quarantine has made the logistics of filming together much simpler.”
Moreland and Remmes have previously worked together on other plays and theater projects. Before the pandemic, the two were scheduled to perform in Meghan Brown’s Ophelia at the 2020 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C.
After theater performances were indefinitely canceled, Remmes began looking for an outlet. He noticed fellow actors posting monologues online, and later wrote a five-minute scene about a couple planning to divorce via Zoom. He sent the script to Moreland, who felt that it read more like the first scene of a longer saga, as opposed to a standalone piece. She insisted that he explore the possibility of a series, leading Remmes to explore the characters and write more episodes.
While an online series is a different platform from the stages they are used to, Remmes and Moreland say new mediums have allowed them to reach to a new audience.
“Working with Dan is an absolute joy,” Moreland says of her partner. “He is such a generous writer and one of my favorite collaborators. ... I'm just happy Dan was willing to humour me when I suggested this should be a series, as he is really doing the brunt of the work, watching hours of footage and editing each episode. It's also really interesting as a predominantly theater actress to be finding a new audience online.”
Covid Couple is available to watch on covidcoupleseries.com.
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