The Golem saves theatre

• A scene from The Golem. Photos by Duncan Wright

THEATRE is back on at Blue Room Theatre, which is urging folk to help the local arts scene recover from the dire pandemic months and its strict Covid requirements.

Like many venues and arts organisations, the Blue Room had to cancel everything in the early months of the pandemic; artists scheduled to perform later in the year also cancelled shows because it was too risky investing in productions that had no guarantee of seeing the light of day. 

October’s show The Jellyman is about accepting “chaos and uncertainty” says writer and performer Rhiannon Petersen.

“While in the work this is focused upon identity, it feels very relevant in a year which has unfolded in the way it has,” she told the Voice.

It’s followed by the December run of The Golem; or, Next Year in Jerusalem by Humphrey Bower and Tim Green.

The Golem’s been adapted to the challenges of Covid restrictions: In response to the tiny audience numbers allowed, on special Saturday shows the two performers flit between two Blue Room performance spaces, playing to two audiences in a myth-and-memoir take on the mythical clay creature created to defend the Jews of Prague.

Blue Room producer Harriet Roberts says there’s still a feeling of uncertainty in the local performing arts scene.

“The fact that our venues are still reduced by two thirds [capacity] and we’re still having to program really last-minute, with quick turnarounds rather than long lead planning, that level of uncertainty has really changed things.”

Performance venues still operate under the one-person per 2sqm rule, which works out to the Blue Room being able to fit about 17 audience members in a room that normally takes 60. 

“Even stadiums have better capacity rules than what we’re dealing with… I don’t know why there’s an inconsistency,” Ms Roberts says. Special rules have let sports stadiums operate at 50 per cent capacity since June. 

“Because of that uncertainty it doesn’t feel like we’re in the clear… it’s a bit of a weird holding pattern.”

The Jellyman runs October 27 to November 7, and The Golem is December 1 to December 12, tickets via blueroom.org.au

by DAVID BELL

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