BBC iPlayer streams Scenes for Survival
James R | On 05, Aug 2020
Scenes for Survival, the theatre project created by the National Theatre of Scotland in response to the coronavirus pandemic, is moving to BBC iPlayer this month.
The project, which has been running online and on social media since 27th May, sees a host of leading performers, writers, and directors creating short pieces of digital theatre remotely from their personal spaces of isolation. Spanning 50-plus artworks in total, the collection debuted online on 27th May, with previous shorts including Brian Cox in a new take on Rebus from Ian Rankin, as the retired detective experiences the lockdown blues, Julie Wilson Nimmo in The Banshee, which was penned by Greg Hemphill, Jonathan Watson in A Mug’s Game – an extract from Frances Poet’s celebrated play Fibres – and Alone performed and written by Janey Godley.
Now, a selection of shorts – including the above – have been added to BBC iPlayer, with new talent featured including Patrick Martins and Emma King in Joseph Knight – an extract from May Sumbwanyambe’s forthcoming play Enough of Him which has been inspired by the true story of an African slave brought to Scotland – and Kristi MacDonald as a hospital patient in The Domestic, written by NHS nurse Uma Nada Rajah.
Three new shorts will also debut in the coming weeks, starting this week with Out of the Woods. It stars Alan Cumming and is written by Johnny McKnight. The 34th short film in the series, it is a darkly comic tale of a father (Alan Cumming) keeping in touch with his Mum and young daughter as he struggles to find his way through the woods, as the afternoon dusk descends into darkness. He is on his way to pick up his young daughter from the remote house she lives in with her other Dad, his estranged former partner. But it is a secret and the little girl isn’t to tell her other Dad he is coming…
Directed by Andrew Panton, and produced in association with Dundee Rep Theatre, the film was shot by Alan Cumming in the woods near his home in the Catskills mountain range, in New York State.
Cumming says: “It seems weirdly inappropriate to say, but making Out Of The Woods was a really fun experience. Maybe it was the fact that I shot it myself and didn’t have to deal with any crew or other actors (aside from my husband who did some really great feet acting)? Maybe it was continuing my collaborations with National Theatre of Scotland and Andrew Panton? Maybe it was working for the first time with the legend that is Johnny McKnight? Maybe it was all of the above, but great things come from adversity and I had a great time making this piece.”
The following episodes will be released on BBC iPlayer on 10th August and 17th August. There will also a be three-part compilation of films from the project broadcast on the BBC Scotland channel on Sunday 16th August.
As well as the compilations, there will also be three longer individual films broadcast:
Larchview, written by Rob Drummond, features Mark Bonnar as a fictional senior scientific adviser coming to terms with his own major breach of the lockdown rules when he secretly visited a care home.
Fatbaws, written by Douglas Maxwell, stars Peter Mullan in a surreal and comic drama about a man in conflict with his garden birds after he changes the food in their bird-feeder
And First Things, penned by Val McDermid, stars Elaine C Smith as a big-hearted DJ on Radio Scotia trying to keep everyone’s spirits up during lockdown.
Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director of National Theatre of Scotland, says: “The success of Scenes For Survival so far has been a testament to the extraordinary talent of Scottish theatre-makers. Their resilience and creativity in being able to create amazing theatre from their spaces of isolation over these last few months is incredible and inspiring. Responsiveness is one of the key strengths of theatre as an art form, and these stories have helped us understand the times we are living through and how to collectively imagine what the future might be.”
There will also be screenings of films from Scenes for Survival in due course on BBC Four and BBC ALBA.
Scenes for Survival is available on BBC iPlayer until August 2021