SO we have an indicative date – September 14 – for “entertainment sites and cultural venues, such as theatres and live music venues” to potentially re-open, “with physical distancing in place” the FM said on Thursday.

For those of us performers looking at our gig schedules, with 2020 dates blinking off the grid and reappearing randomly across 2021, we’re not exactly popping streamers.

Nobody knows, and nobody can predict. At the end of August, we were due to play one of the Live From The Drive-In gigs at Ingliston (yes, honk your horns for blue-eyed soul, while safely dancing in your marked perimeter. All that). Sales were strong, but promoters assessed that millions would have been lost if a local lockdown suddenly outlawed any of the events.

So you get up, and you try again. My own arts sector – commercial music – is chucking everything at the wall. A report from Trybes Agency, The Future of Events and Experience, notes how major festivals such as Glastonbury and Lost Horizon are planning online, game-like scenarios to replace the live events.

“It’s not ‘the show must go on’,” says the CEO of Wave, a virtual concert platform, “but ‘the show must go beyond’.” They are setting up a motion-captured John Legend and Tinashe to perform paid gigs to millions, potentially tens of millions. To the victors, striding across their expensively simulated futurist landscapes, the spoils.

READ MORE: Norman Bissell: It’s time to properly protect our creatives

But the Trybes report also anticipates a vigorous counter-trend. The idea of flying to rave in Ibiza, or travelling miles to attend a massive, potentially contagious stadium concert, might just become a new kind of taboo behaviour.

Will there be more investment by entertainment consumers in the local, as well as the virtual? Not just in the small, seatless venues that can flexibly re-arrange themselves, according to pandemic conditions.

But also investment in local artists, scenes, community relationships, supporting what is near and dear to you. Will this become the cultural afterglow from the mutual aid networks that have proliferated during the pandemic?

If we get to mid-September without any reversions or bug mutations, maybe we’ll see all that accelerating. But this is already a time in which so many new hybrid relationships between arts, tech, community and media are springing up.

One of the most impressive and inventive cultural sectors, both communally and creatively, has been Scottish theatre. As the head of Edinburgh’s Lyceum, David Greig, said a few months ago, if you wanted to design a disease that would perfectly destroy theatre as it previously existed, Covid-19 would be it.

So it’s quietly exciting to see the way theatres have concretely responded to the needs of the communities around them. I saw pictures of Eden Court in Inverness the other day. In each blue seat of the auditorium, a food package sat; the venue currently serves as Highland Council’s humanitarian aid centre.

Or consider the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr. It also helps to distribute aid to communities it has had a long-standing connection with. But they’re also mobilising the hundreds of volunteers that keep the venue going, offering locals creative activities during lockdown.

The Gaiety is also commissioning work that will be shown online. And the rise of online performance is probably the most thrilling aspect of Scottish drama’s adaptation to the new circumstances.

Go to YouTube and search on the hashtag #ScenesForSurvival. This brings you to an deep archive of short dramatic monologues (sometimes duologues, appropriately distanced), jointly commissioned by the National Theatre of Scotland and BBC Scotland.

Many of us have been, for years, urging our national broadcaster to be more directly supportive of Scots drama and theatre. Meaning not just the nice occasional arts report on a production, but a strong commitment to bringing their performances and scripts to the screen.

It takes a pandemic, as they say … But #ScenesForSurvival is the first glimpse of what such a commitment could look like, triggered by an age of contagion and social media.

THE best of them I’ve seen is Douglas Maxwell’s Fatbaws. Adroitly holding up his own mobile, padding shirtless (and sometimes trouserless) around a family home, the magisterial Peter Mullan performs a stand off between two parties: an arrogant human being, and the talking jackdaws who demand their favourite food in his back garden (or else they’ll make us extinct).

READ MORE: How the creative industries can help us recover from the coronavirus pandemic

Fatbaws verges on a new artform – call it the selfie-logue, or the moby-drama. It also does one of the jobs that Scottish theatre is supposed to do – which is to make street-Scots a vehicle for the darkest humour and deepest of speculations.

Out of many enjoyable clips – Janey Godley’s meek assassin in “Alone”, or the POV of a delivery rider in “Courier Culture” – one is particularly powerful. Indeed, it points back to theatre’s beginnings, and maybe one of its immediate futures. “Larchview”, written by Bob Drummond, performed by Mark Bonnar and directed by Jack Nurse, is a piece-to-camera from a government health adviser. He is practising his recorded apology to the nation.

The adviser has breached his own advice by sneaking into his mum’s nursing home (called Larchview) in the early hours. Drunk and needing a hug from her, it’s possible he might have also brought in the coronavirus, which subsequently kills his mother and a dozen other residents.

The blurb for this series calls these, with a little presumption, “digital artworks” – but the term is entirely appropriate here. What we see in Larchview is a figure of authority, in pieces and in process.

He’s testing out his official and legally approved lines, muttering around them in ways that gradually reveal his conflicted emotions, but also his fundamental culpability. And all this poured into the mystic portal of our times.

This is very new, and very old drama, at the same time. Most good accounts of the classical Greek theatre stress how integrated the plays were into the political and civic life of Athens. In particular, as classical scholar Edith Hall notes, many characters “bring on disaster through bad decisionmaking”.

As an example, Hall points to Sophocles’s Antigone, “where we see Creon, the ruler of Thebes, on his first day of power taking precipitately bad decision after bad decision, without listening to good, disinterested counsellors, without doing all the things that Aristotle says a man has to do to take a good decision”.

Cue the adviser’s pained wrangling in Larchview. But cue also, perhaps, a torrent of this kind of micro-theatre. Drama packaged and condensed in such a way that it enters the interstices of everyday life.

READ MORE: The Last Laugh? Scots comedy clubs fighting for survival

Drama that directly assists us, like the originary forms of theatre, to make important decisions (which may be decisions to do nothing) in the face of excruciating dilemmas.

Covid and lockdown are the wider horizon for these #ScenesForSurvival. But one might imagine other challenges. For example, there is a discussion paper out from an SNP commission this week on the viability of a Universal Basic Income.

Wouldn’t this be juicily ripe for micro-dramatic treatment, from every angle? What about the “free-riders” question – UBI as money given unconditionally, paid by the taxes of the working? Or conversely, how about the new relationships UBI could help to fund – supporting a dedicated, resource-light life, committed to care, or creativity, or both?

The point is not, of course, to give our nimble, mobile new dramatists a tick-list of policy angles to explore. The joy of character development is surprise – ending up where vice and virtue dissolve into each other. “Creative disobedience”, as Richard Holloway once put it, is the most valuable service artists can pay to their state patrons.

But if theatre as a performing art is looking to build itself back better, responding in ways commensurate to these plague-ridden days, it could do a lot worse than return to basics. We need to pry ourselves open, gingerly but enjoyably, in order to figure out what we want in this new era. Drama could be the tool.