Review: The Resilience Project–Shorts

by Lynn on July 27, 2020

in The Passionate Playgoer

What: Six digital plays on line about the personal effects of being in isolation.

Where: At the Necessary Angel website:

Theatres are busy creating digital productions since we can’t gather together to watch a play in a theatre. The Resilience ProjectShorts is a project of Necessary Angel.

Two definitions of “Resilience” are offered:

  1. “The capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress.”
  2. “An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

Alan Dilworth, the Artistic Director of Necessary Angel, commissioned several artists to create short digital works in response to their personal experiences of isolation and change during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The only constraints were that they had to be between one and five minutes long and they needed to be both a personal statement and an offering for others. The results are six fascinating pieces that vary from being deeply thought, whimsical, poetic in repetition and an homage to nature. The artists are a cross-section of ethnicities, backgrounds and experiences.

When Time Wants to Be Seen by Marie Farsi

It’s a meditation of Marie Farsi on her situation. We hear just her voice. She talks of how the closings of theatres have taken away the spaces in which she creates as a director. The loss of that space makes the present come in. She muses on how the world as we know it is coming to an end. Her days become less defined. The change in weather dictates her schedule now. She asks us to accept our fragility and mortality; to reconnect, to listen and to open our eyes. Lovely thoughts and much to think about.

These Days by Azad Imanirad and Sina Gilani.

It’s a film about a man and his partner—his bed. He sleeps fitfully in the bed and wants to get up to make a bagel but the bed seems to keep him there. Until he can no longer ignore the urge and he gets up to toast the bagel in the kitchen. It’s a bit of whimsy with esoteric musings.

As Stillness Hinges Chaos (Light and Truth) is a wonderful dance piece choreographed and performed by Aasim and Tehseen Jaafri.

Directed by Tehseen Jaafri

With Music  by Aasim Jaafri.

A man and a woman sit on the floor of their home, reading. He wears pants and a shirt and his head and face are covered in a patterned scarf. She wears a blue dress and her face and head are also covered in a scarf that is arranged to suggest her hairline. We cannot see their facial features. The action is speeded up so that we see a repeated pattern of the couple quietly reading; then they get up to do various yoga poses; then they both pray, bowing down on what I assume are prayer mats; then then go back to reading; yoga and praying. This is their life during the pandemic, through dance. To the viewer it’s not monotonous, it’s balletic. Fascinating.

Home Day by Erin Brandenburg

It’s a day at home taking care of children, cleaning and sewing. All the time the children call for attention. It’s seen through a distorting lens, as if it’s reflected in one of those mirrors in an arcade in which you can’t really make out the detail or real size of things. A woman cleans up a spill in a toy-filled room. She meticulously cleans the piano.  The music in the background is from keys on the piano being tuned—the repetitious striking of a key to find the right tuning. An adult couple are in the kitchen of the house puttering. A child is there as well.  

In another scene in front of the house a mother quietly talks to her son in which he comments that she is making a movie—one assumes of their day. Later the mother works at a sewing machine making masks I assume, while another young child reads a book and wants attention. In the last moment a child says he has to pee.

Home day, indeed.  I wondered who the adults were in the houses, how they are related and how they are related to the children. Just curious.

The Twisted Road by Alana Bridgewater 

Cast (passengers): Alana Bridgewater

Lyanda Pugliese

Nicola Goldson

 Shelita Walker

Alijicia Gibson

Julie Thompson

Kaiia Gibson

I found this to be the most emotionally sobering of the scenes. Alana Bridgewater has written a poem/song about the hard and twisted road of Black women. Her piece is not just about coping in a pandemic. Her piece is much more than that—it’s about coping as Black women in ‘normal’ times’.

Bridgewater recites it, unseen, in a voice over as the camera focuses on the sombre face of a Black woman, beginning with Alana Bridgewater herself. With every line there is a close-up of a new face. Bridgewater’s voice is clear but conveys the exhaustion of the journey. The words are compelling in describing the hard, twisted road these women are taking on a bus.



Pained faces of many shades await their destination.

Some sit. Others are forced to stand.

Some hide. Others cry….

The road this coach has seen explodes in a splendor of dead hopes…”

Bridgewater writes of women who don’t want to go on this journey but have to because “there’s hope in it.”

The resilience to continue, to move forward, is all. I loved the pain of the piece. As with true art, Bridgewater has told a specific story that also has resonance in the larger world.

Only You by Meegwun Fairbrother.

It’s a short film of a moving body of water. There are flips in the surface suggesting either drips are falling into it or something beneath the surface is blowing the water up. The flashes in the water get larger and more frequent as the camera pans the surface.

A guitar strums quietly and gets more urgent. A voice sings plaintively: “why do you turn away? ”The voice segues into what sound like chants or howls. Something appears below the surface then the camera pans away. The image appears—a man quietly rises to the surface of the water, slowly takes a breath and then disappears again under the water.

I loved the grace and mystery of the piece. It is like an homage to nature, the appreciation of it, the thing that calms in this uncertain world. The thing that is always constant. The juxtaposition of the song that suggests a pained situation next to this peaceful swimming was interesting. I’m not sure what the song means in this idyllic situation but found the whole piece interesting.

The Resilience Project – Shorts are on the Necessary Angel website at:

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