Thursday, February 11, 2021

DIGITAL SHARING 2 (Kickitdown Productions)****


By Cal


Available until: Unknown

Part 2 of Digital Sharing consists of three more contrasting short dramas, two filmed on Zoom and one audio.

Catch It is about Danielle and Dale. They’re on different sides of the world, but it’s Dale’s birthday (in Danielle’s time zone, anyway) and they’re having a Zoom call. Director Jamie Hogarth varies the shots in the big moments, adding to the sense of drama, but mostly keeps the camera close on the two characters. There’s a really dramatic situation to be dealt with it and writer Andy Chaplin cleverly reveals it in a very slow but realistic way. Danielle, played by Miranda Heath, is slightly bossy and demanding. Dale (credited as Mark Thompson in the video and Mark Nicolson in the video description) is evasive but maybe there’s a good reason for it this time… or maybe there isn’t. The actors do very well to convey the tension in their relationship, even when they’re trying to be friendly. The conversation feels very real and I don’t doubt it’s happened many times over the past year.

Whiskey Wednesdays shows the agony of divorce. Jen really wants her sister Abbey to talk to her dad. Abbey really doesn’t want to. Her feelings about the divorce are complicated and painful, but Jen usually gets what she wants. Paige Cowan-Hall’s script captures the emotions well and director Kwame Owusu presents it in a way which racks up the tension between the characters still further. Roberta Livingston is an articulate but emotional Abbey, Emma-Jay Thomas is calmly in control as Jen and while their father, Michael, struggles to put his feelings into words, John Vernon makes sure they still come through loud and clear. There are many ways to tell this story, but telling it on Zoom works especially well, especially when you contrast it with the Whiskey Wednesdays of the title.

Wallace is an audio drama. The words appear on the screen. It’s the middle of the night and Wallace is sharing his random thoughts the way you do sometimes in the middle of the night. A lot of what you say is weird and unconnected, or it seems that way. In this case, it’s probably more connected than Wallace realises. But there’s usually something you’re trying to get to in the midst of all that. Something really important. Jamie Bisping has written this exceptionally well, capturing the randomness of middle of the night conversations but making it mean something. Director Toby Ashbourne has helped to bring out the meanings and Daniel Carling performs the piece brilliantly, finding the balance between making it sound rambly and keeping our focus.

The grouping of these pieces together might seem quite random at first, but I think there is something that connects them together. I liked the pieces before I saw the connection, but once I knew it, that lifted the collection of stories in my estimation even further. It’s sad but striking.

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