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Digital Sharing is a series of six episodes. Each episodes has three different plays in it. Some of them are on Zoom and have lots of people in. I think all the plays so far that have used Zoom are about people who really are on Zoom. Some of them are audio monologues for one person with the words appearing on the screen.
Peer Support is about four people who have weekly Zoom meetings. I don’t think they knew each other before the meetings but it has been set up so they can support each other through lockdown. I think Molly Anne Sweeney has written this really well. She makes us interested in all the characters from the start and as the play goes on, we start to care about them too.
Adam Morley and Izzy Bronze are the directors and I really like the attention to detail in their ways showing that the meetings are happening on different days. They also obviously filmed each meeting separately because the videos are in different positions on the Zoom screen which is realistic.
Lucy Beresford is competent, sensitive and very well-meaning in the role of Louise. Radhika Aggarwal plays Fatima, who is determined to make something of her time in lockdown. Tom Gordon’s Owen quite likes not having to see anyone and Josh Sinclair-Evans’ Tyler doesn’t seem to want to talk at all. They are all different, but they show attitudes to lockdown which a lot of people have and I love how the characters ended up surprising me.
Native is a piece of very poetic writing about the ignorance of some people, the questions they feel they have the right to ask and the effect the questions can have. It is written and performed by Priyanka Patel. It is very powerful. The language is very beautiful and poetic, but it is used in a way that emphasises the meaning of the words and really makes you think about them.
I think you can learn a lot from listening to this monologue, but even if you know everything in the monologue already, it is still worth thinking about the way you talk to people from other cultures. The monologue is only three minutes long and I’m sure there is so much that isn’t mentioned. Parvinder Shergill is the director. I am scared of being racist, but I think it was important for this play to be directed by someone who has a real understanding of what Ms Patel is writing about. I think that probably happened here and I think this is partly why the monologue is so successful.
Choose Shoes is quite a scary play, but it is really good. It starts off like just a normal Zoom meeting during the pandemic. Gareth is the manager and he wants everything to be done professionally, even if they are all stuck at home. Sandra doesn’t seem so interested and Tim really isn’t in a good state at all.
Hannah Weetman is the writer and it is so clever the way she sets all this up and then throws in a big twist. Claire Parry is the director and she starts off with a bit of comedy, then making things very normal and when the twist happens the play becomes really atmospheric.
Edmund Digby-Jones seems really sweet at first as Gareth, but there is more to him than you realise. Caroline King-Gadekah’s Sandra has a more realistic approach and Jack Hefferan is quite scary as Tim because something is obviously very wrong. Carrie Cohen makes a short appearance as Jean and I love the way she takes the play in a different direction, but she also adds to the general weirdness of everything.
The three plays are really good and really different. There is often a theme that links all the plays in one episode so I am trying to think what the theme might be. I think maybe all the plays are telling you not to make up your mind about people too quickly because it is very easy to get things completely wrong. This might be misjudging a person, a situation or your own behaviour. But even if I am wrong, Digital Sharing 5 is still really brilliant.