Australia’s Lambert House Enterprise is set to perform Nick Enright’s play St James Infirmary via Zoom in the coming fortnight. The production is offering all proceeds to the Actors Benevolent Fund who boost the wellbeing of performers.
For lead actress Rachel Marley, this play is an opportunity to work with fellow actors and keep theatre living through COVID-19.
“The arts industry has been hit really hard by COVID and the lockdowns… things like this [the online play] are ways of supporting companies within the industry.”
The production has created new dynamics. Rehearsals have taken place online, reinventing the steps of usual theatre practice. Preparation has changed from blocking and set design, to wondering if a dog will bark in the background.
“You have to do a lot of preparation on your own, in your own time before getting into the Zoom rehearsals and really know your stuff. Once you get into it, you’re trying to decide whether you’re acting to the webcam or acting to the screen,” Marley told City Hub.
“It’s a really interesting process because there’s all these external things you don’t usually deal with.”
St James Infirmary is a richly historical play, set during the Vietnam War. Acting for Zoom has increased the level of research amongst the cast.
“It’s sitting at home and doing the research and really delving into that world and what it was like,” Marley explained as she closely read the script.
And Marley has found the play a great opportunity to reignite her love of war history while working with old friends.
As actors prepare, they are hopeful for a great turn out. Tickets to the one-off performance on Saturday, August 21 at 7:30pm can be bought for $15 here.