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Digital Sharing 5 is the penultimate sharing from KickItDown Productions, and brings three more original pieces of writing, exploring complex themes.
The first piece presented, Peer Support by Molly Anne Sweeney, follows the meetings of a support group as they move online during lockdown. Through the highs and lows of the following weeks, they seek solace in each other’s company, but with tensions high, even the strongest amongst them struggles remain positive.
Director Adam Morley keeps a very informal attitude to the scenes within this short play, letting the text – with its subtle moments of despair and fortitude – convey the tempestuous nature of anxiety, something which is greatly exacerbated during times like this. Sweeney’s approach to these four individuals (played brilliantly by Radhika Aggarwal, Lucy Beresford, Tom Gordon and Josh Sinclair Evans) creates a dynamic whereby the highs of one character are counterbalanced by the lows of another, creating a palpable tension which is in constant flux. But in the generosity of these characters, and their shared experiences, they are able to unify to build one another back up. A wonderful picture of humanity and its diverse and complex design.
Native is a candid glance at how it feels to be at the end of a constant stream of inquiry, based on people’s assumptions and fascination regarding your ethnicity. Written and delivered by Priyanka Patel, she presents her truth through a compelling performance, the poetic structure of the text and its visceral language revealing a passion, and hurt, that demands to be heard.
Reflecting on moments where she has been made to feel guilty or ashamed for someone else’s insensitivity, Patel calls out a society in which systemic racism is something for the recipient to resolve, educating the ignorant. She bravely admits that these feelings are not something she can express in the moment, instead it is in this – her solitary work – that she can dissect and express it all. Native is inspiration for anyone who doesn’t think they can find the words, that there is a way they can make their voice heard.
Introducing a more light-hearted tone to finish off the sharing, is the absurdist Choose Shoes by Hannah Weetman. As the newly appointed store manager, Gareth is preparing for a team meeting to boost sales of shoe store Choose Shoes, but the meeting is not received well due to the impending doom of an alien invasion. As Gareth adopts a keep-calm-and-carry-on attitude, things begin to fall apart around him.
As a satirical look at corporate greed during the pandemic, this play definitely pushes things to their extremes. The scene opens with Gareth singing to himself and fixing his camera angle to give the best impression, a detestable smirk of pride comes across his face and I instantly dislike the man. In setting up the scene in such a firm but nonchalant way, director Claire Parry provides a contrast which allows her to flip the scene on its head. As the true circumstances of Gareth’s promotion are revealed we are left flummoxed as he continues to push his insensitive corporate agenda. Though not overly complex, it’s an hilarious watch and well executed.
Whilst these three pieces don’t necessarily make for cohesive viewing, they do all provide essential material, exploring the vital issues in a society where the voices of the discriminated will no longer be kept silent.
Digital Sharing 5 is available to stream online, for more information and to watch visit Kickitdown Production’s website.