Scenes for Survival | Larchview


18 Jun 2020

News Story

Following a breach of the nation’s lockdown rules, one of the government’s most senior scientific advisers is forced to practice for his groveling public apology in a fictitious new short sharp drama. As he struggles to justify his actions, he slowly comes to terms with what he has done, and the horrifying scale of his mistake becomes clear.

Featuring Mark Bonnar, written by Rob Drummond, and directed by Jack Nurse.

Produced by National Theatre of Scotland, in association with BBC Scotland, Screen Scotland, BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project with support from Hopscotch Films.

"The great thing about Scenes for Survival is it manages to still feel like theatre. There is no audience in the room when these actors are performing, no immediate interaction between them, no chance to clap at the end. But this is different from TV or film. Because the actors are in the same situation we all are. They are self filming in isolation. We are watching in isolation. They stare down the camera at us. Almost longingly. There’s an intimacy to it and an honesty that is completely different from other digital contact. And intimacy and honesty are really what we are all desperate for just now I think.

I wrote this piece in response to Scotland’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood’s resignation after breaking lockdown rules. The day after I handed in Dominic Cummings hit the news and this piece was forever designed to be misattributed as a response to his story. That’s not a problem really though - the piece is not directly about anyone at all. It’s more about the idea of authority, truth, hypocrisy and public scrutiny. Should those in charge be held to different standards than the rest of us? Are we more outraged at hypocrisy than the actual infraction? Do we want to hear the truth and how would we even know if we had heard it?"