Free online at Vimeo
One thing I didn’t realise I was missing in lockdown was am-dram. The homemade costumes, Shakespearean references, bright enthusiasm, and a genuine love for all things theatre. Zoom! A Play for Lockdown has all of these in spades. They’ve even made the script available (royalty free, but with a suggested donation to The Actors’ Benevolent Fund) so other keen actors can have a crack at this funny, warm little show.
The 30 minute performance takes the format of a play-within-a-play, and we watch as the troupe, presided over by the patient John (aka Fairy King) undertake rehearsals for their play over Zoom. It’s a clever plot device, allowing the viewer a glimpse into the inner lives of the characters, whilst the play they’re rehearsing drives the plot. The characters we meet are caricatures of the different ways many of us have tried to cope with lockdown; there’s exercise-obsessed Fatima, Tristram the inspired baker, and Tams, who appears in varying levels of PPE as the play progresses. Plus, there are subtle digs at the petty rivalries within am-dram groups, which are very funny to watch.
Recording the performance over Zoom is innovative, and provides a good basis for relatable humour as the actors cope with the inevitable connection issues. Anyone who’s been working from home for the past few months can’t help but chuckle at the chorus of “mute!” every time rehearsals are interrupted by a barking dog or someone talking in another room.
The play itself is a sort of 1920s farce, peppered through with alliteration and ridiculous twists. Fatima gets into character each time by winding a feather boa round her neck, one of the play’s many subtle humorous touches that made me snort with laughter.
All in all, Zoom! A Play for Lockdown is a wonderful reminder of the joy of am-dram, made by a group of people who clearly love performing and have found a fun way to keep drama going throughout lockdown.
Written by: Tess Townsend & Marie-Jose Zuurbier
Directed by: Marie-Jose Zuurbier