With 8th week well on the way and another COVID term drawing to a relatively uneventful close, we all could certainly use some light relief, a chance to relax and unwind from the pressures of our degrees. And with impeccable timing is entering the latest show from OULES (Oxford University Light Entertainment Society) which looks to be the perfect way to round off this strangest of terms. Entitled ‘Waiting for George-O’ and directed by Will Ainsworth, the show is a piece of new writing centred around a school group project – conducted of course, over zoom – which descends into chaos as the heads of two teams (red and blue) clash in conflict. In the director’s own words: “This show is classic OULES with a mix of quirky characters, outlandish plot lines and feel-good music – as with many of our shows, it has been just as fun making it as it hopefully will be to watch!”
The show looks to be one of mischievous entertainment, revelling in the medium of the ‘zoom call gone wrong’ to which we are all familiar, especially following the incendiary Handforth Parish Council leak which no doubt will be fondly looked back on as a highlight of the pandemic years.
“OULES exists to give new actors, writers, directors etc., an informal, low-pressure platform to get started on. Over the last year, we’ve learnt a bunch of new skills to allow OULES to continue making shows through Covid-19, and this is one of them – it’s a pre-recorded and edited Zoom show, released in a premiere on Youtube. Directing over Zoom has been a challenging, yet interesting variation! Something that’s really nice about this show is that it is written and designed to be done over Zoom, so it’s been really nice to direct, as I found myself focusing more closely on the way lines are delivered and on things like facial expressions (as blocking is minimal). I think this has definitely enhanced my directing skills.”
The Beckettian connotations of the title suggests that there will be some tongue-in-cheek likenesses or parallels drawn between this show and the giant that is ‘Waiting For Godot’ – I for one am always thrilled to see some fun filled theatrical allusion.
“Another (maybe unexpected?) perk of online shows is that we have been fundraising for charity (these term’s charities are Mermaids and Mind!) and we are actually raising more money than we were able to raise in our ‘normal’ shows, since we had to factor in venue costs and so on before, so that’s definitely a nice development!”
It is always exciting and commendable to see groups rising to the challenges of the current climate and really committing to the limitations of the zoom dramatic form, and the most successful productions have been those who have really leant into this medium and seen it’s shortcomings as opportunities for humour. This show revels in the mischief that can occur online and offers the light relief we all are craving at this time.
‘Waiting For George-O’ is available online on Friday 12th March at 7:30pm and more information about the show can be found here.