Josephine Christensen thought she had her PhD research under control, but when coronavirus hit she was suddenly thrust into a very different world.
"The impact of COVID-19 on live theatre production has been significant but as a director, I never imagined rehearsing a play via Zoom," she said.
For Christensen's PhD project she had been leading a practice-as-research work which utilised the Michael Chekhov acting technique in rehearsal and performance.
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"The Michael Chekhov technique favours the actor's intuition and instinct over the intellect and restores humour and spirit to the rehearsal process," she said.
"It's actually a movement technique. It involves archetypes and gestures."
However, this technique was taught to the actors via Zoom as Christensen has been stranded in Canada during COVID.
The students majoring in theatre and performance and undertaking this project had to juggle learning in a small space while trying not to disrupt others around them.
"They did a great job of coping with the sort of strangeness of the technique online," she said.
The production Christensen directed via Zoom, Fishskin Trousers, was written by award-winning English playwright Professor Elizabeth Kuti.
The script changed from a more dynamic feel to a monologue because of the pandemic, which weaves together the separate experiences of three characters on the Island of Orford Ness.
"I would say its a tale of mystery and magic, of myth and reality, and at the heart of the play is love and acceptance," she said.
Christensen said it is strange seeing the production grow in front of her while she was not physically in the room.
Dr Jane Woollard, head of Theatre and Performance at UTAS and School of Creative Arts and Media said there were originally wrinkles to iron out when the pandemic hit and the performance was changed.
"It's not been an easy thing. There probably was an initial phase of some grief for all of us, not only for this project but for other performance projects," she said.
"Three and a half year of pretty hefty research and so to have it knocked sideways...it's terrific that Jo has been able to pick up and carry on and in a way, work these conditions to her advantage."
Fengyi Liu, who plays Ben in Fishskin Trousers, is based at the Hobart campus and was only able to take part in the performance because of the online transition.
"It's a really unique experience but I love it," he said.
"It's like everything has come true from the screen to reality."
The performance will have four shows from October 21-24 at the Annexe Theatre situated at the University of Tasmania's Inveresk campus. Saturday's performance will be live-streamed and for those intending to watch, they must register in advance by emailing CAM.Inveresk@utas.edu.au.