Although the coronavirus pandemic has brought most live performances to an end, the Dudley Little Theatre (DLT) group was determined to continue.
The company is performing The Misfortunes of Not Being Earnest via Zoom, and streaming the play online in four parts shown on Wednesday to Saturday this week.
Director Tony Stamp, who also wrote the play, said: “The project evolved due to Dudley Little Theatre being unable to stage its scheduled September play, Abigail’s Party, because the current virus situation.
“DLT had recently held a couple of Zoom meetings to read The Importance of Being Earnest, just for the entertainment of the members, and it occurred to me then that a comedy about a fictitious drama society attempting to rehearse this play under lockdown conditions via Zoom meetings, would be an ideal and practical subject for a play of our own,” he continued.
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The Misfortunes of Not Being Earnest is a comedy concerning the fictional drama society The Pilchard Players as it attempts to rehearse The Importance of Being Earnest via Zoom meetings. Needless to say, chaos ensues and escalates over the four episodes.
Tony continued: “While it has been suggested that I have based the characters on certain members of Dudley Little Theatre, I think it is fairer to say that the characters have been merely inspired by some of them and then exaggerated for comic effect. They are characters that you could reasonably expect to find in any amateur dramatics group."
Tony went on to explain how the play had been rehearsed.
“It was written over two weeks and emailed out to all the members, who were then invited to attend a reading for casting, exactly as we would have approached a regular play,” he said.
“Cast rehearsals were held twice weekly for four weeks and then recorded over four nights of the fifth week, all via Zoom of course, leaving two weeks for editing and adding the finishing touches.”
The play is in four parts of 15 minutes each being shown on YouTube at 7.30pm each evening.
Although there will be no charge to watch the play, DLT have set up a Just Giving page whereby viewers can donate to the society if they wish at justgiving.com/dudleylittletheatre.