STAGE REVIEW: Scroll @ Northern Stage Online | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Silent Disco in the Sky by Daniel York Loh

With Scroll, Northern Stage are nimbly circumventing the limitation of lockdown with a series of short films designed as circuit breakers to the mindless doom scrolling which can sweep us away from reality towards a virtual event horizon of never-ending whinging, bile, apocalyptic cult chanting and horror stories.

The first, Daniel Bye’s Welcome To Your New Day is helpfully accompanied by the suggestion that it is best experienced before rising. Styled as a vaguely unhinged mindfulness app it features a calming voice-over set against a pitch black void which we discover is slowly losing confidence in its own advice. It is, quite honestly, perhaps not the best thing to motivate you just before rising but it might bring a wry smile to your face.

A Love Letter To Us by Tabby Lamb is a sweet film about the flourishing of a relationship and the identities that we build. Featuring images of surgery-scarred and transforming bodies it reminds us that the pursuit of love and identity, especially for ourselves, is not a straight and simple path.

To be watched while waiting for the bus is Silent Disco In The Sky. Ericka Posadas performs a silent dance tribute to a lost friend against a wintry background. The voice-over recounts the story of undocumented healthcare workers taking the brunt of blame and abuse from certain patients and risking their own lives while wondering when it will be their turn to get sick.

Leo Skilbeck takes us on a journey into the wild in 5 Minute Wake Up. We travel out of the regimented city towards the hills. Bright white lines, multiple lanes and neon green signposts give way to intermittent fence posts and a single road winding up a hill. The movement gives way to static shots of rain clouds moving across the frame, hazy boundaries between earth and sky and muted colours of slate grey, apricot and pale blue as the dawn breaks and we are reminded simply to breathe.

(Don’t) Spill The Tea by Chris Sonnex is to be experienced while boiling the kettle. Four cousins discuss the tea ritual and the profound meaning of making something little to share and enjoy. It can be as simple as pouring hot water on tea leaves and bringing out a plate of biscuits.

To be experienced while running a bath is Page A Day by Adam Lenson. An unnamed woman, describing herself as a ‘Jewish-ish Geordie’ finds how digging into diverse elements of her heritage help her heal after she loses her job, her partner and her grandmother.

There are currently six short videos online, with a further three to be released this week (commencing 10th February) and all have an audio and caption description option, and they’ll be online for the rest of the year. It’s good to see our theatres supporting artists to create work and moving things online and hopefully they’ll keep this going in future as a compliment to live stage productions. Northern Stage have managed a particularly creative and entertaining spin with these generally upbeat and thought provoking pieces and it would be lovely to see more.

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