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Digital Sharing 2 presents another three short plays in KickItDown production’s collection of new writing – bringing together creatives from across the globe in an online collaboration of digital content.
Beginning this streaming is Catch It written by Andy Chaplin and directed by Jamie Hogarth. Separated by both continent and COVID, Danielle heads online to catch up with her brother Dale on the eve of his 40th Birthday, but the need to meddle in her younger brother’s life leads to tension in their relationship.
Chaplin’s text reveals a charming sibling bond, kind-hearted but with a history of challenges clearly layered between the lines, informing each character’s direction in the scene. Hogarth’s surefooted direction feels like a simmering pot, the actors volleying their lines back and forth at the will of the characters. This eventually boils over in a well-earned and deeply intense pause – holding back their natural urge to pull each other’s hair. Both Mark Nicolson and Miranda Heath give well measured performances with a tangible rapport, each adding their own gently nuanced moments throughout the play. Little is given away in regard to back story, (something I much prefer to piles of exposition) focusing instead on the relationship of these very engaging characters and that makes it a very interesting watch.
Whisky Wednesdays follows suit with another family drama, written by Paige Cowan-Hall. After a year without talking, Abbey finally takes the plunge and asks her sister to join her on a video call she is making to her dad, where she plans to finally address the anger she has been holding onto since their parents split.
For such a short and snappy play, Cowan-Hall manages to fit a huge amount within the words of her characters. The initial inclusion of Abbey’s sister, Jen, helps to give some context and establish Abbey’s inner turmoil, before launching into a quickfire dialogue with her father. The scene builds as fast as it dissipates, and yet there feels to be a firm beginning and middle, as well as a satisfying conclusion. Roberta Livingston gives a brilliantly charged performance and maintains total commitment throughout, with great supporting performances by Emma-Jay Thomas and John Vernon. Creating such a dense world in such few lines in this play is a terrific task.
Finishing off the streaming is Wallace by Jamie Bisping, an erratic and unpredictable audio exploration. We all have times where we lie in bed, our internal monologue working overtime to reconcile the thoughts in our head into something cohesive – and this is exactly what Bisping brings us with Wallace.
The play is an accurate representation of the strange tangents of deep thought; somehow connected, but never evident at first, eventually coming full circle back to memories of his mother and a pang of some deep pain within. Daniel Carlin delivers the piece clearly, and with a light comic touch that maintains the sincerity of the text, developing an intriguing character that warrants further study. What this piece gives is not complex story, but an emotional reflection that feels familiar and justified – however frivolous it may seem.
Although entirely separate, together these three plays paint a complex portrait of family and self, in a time where we seem so far apart from the ones who understand us the most.
Digital Sharing 2 is available to stream online, for more information and to watch visit Kickitdown Productions’ website.