Scenes for Survival | Sore Afraid

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17 Jun 2020

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Nuala hasn’t got a lot on now Marie is gone. Never one to dwell, instead she’s taken to watching her neighbours across the road do that thing they insist on doing at their window. And as the days and weeks roll on, she becomes sure that joy is on its way for everyone. Maureen Beattie features in this heartbreaking new short from writer Michael John O’Neill, directed by Dominic Hill.

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

"Storytelling is survival. As much as I am the son of my mother and father, I am the son of stories of love and hunger and pain and wonder and revolution and endless labour. What I feel distinctly at this moment is that survival returns us to ourselves. It returns us to childhood, and our powerlessness in an incomprehensible world. Theatre’s most overlooked gift is the kindness with which it echoes the vulnerability of the observer. It is a true and welcome levelling, rare and to be protected as good for all. It is the first crack in the lead actor’s voice that signals the strain to follow. It is the wobble that cascades the set when a door is flung with too much force. It is the intrusion of the outside world in the rumble of a train or a siren pealing by. It is the regret and faint whiff of paprika rising from the row below where an old fella has slow snapped a crisp in a sudden and unfortunate moment of quiet. Theatre is at its best when it recognises we are all alone with each other in the dark, and responds to that by pouring out its own fear and fatigue. And the joy that sits within all that. These stories cannot give shape to the strangeness of the now, or tell us with any certainty what future will emerge. They cannot restore liveness in a time of distance. These stories are rawer than that, simpler and more vulnerable. They are absolutely all we can give you. They are survival."

Michael John O'Neill, Writer

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