Shenanigans - Lockdown Special Logo: Bad Banana Productions
A collection of tiny leaflets from the big books of Spaced, The Inbetweeners and Derry Girls join forces with creative youth and the newfound healing power of Zoom in both Derry-Londonderry and Donegal to give us Shenanigans: Lockdown Special, Eoin Callaghan and Kieron Clarke's brief but tidy and enjoyable encapsulation of the we-still-just-don't-know-what-to-do-with-ourselves feeling of these very uncertain times. Some have adjusted to them, some have forced themselves to, some don't want to, and some simply won't, and that's the very Zoom-driven universe you get on the screen right in front of you - a concept laden with chuckles, familiarity and a tiny bit of unease down below. Something very in tone with what Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost might have come up with nowadays.
The craft of this eight-minute work is impressive. Every actor, or actress, in the talented ensemble records his or her lines individually, listening to an audiobook of the script through earphones as they are prompted in accordance with the correct timing to read the appropriate lines in an equally appropriate (or in some cases, we might argue, inappropriate) manner, retaining levels of realism and relevance on par with the present day climate and in tune with Clarke and Callaghan's initial inception. It's a admirably complex process transformed into an appealingly concise work, social media as eight minutes of theatrics, melodramatics and light comedy for the student and lockdown generation.
Of course, it's not for everyone. (Spaced wasn't either.) But to these eyes, at least, what's appealing, especially for something this well crafted, isn't just a happy accident. It can't be. At a time when realist thoughts are as commonplace as momentary smiles, what Clarke, Callaghan and company have touched upon is vital - the sadness in not knowing what the new normal will be countered by knowing that we can laugh with, and at, ourselves. And, like these Shenanigans or not, that is an accomplishment.
Shenanigans: Lockdown Special initially aired on the Bad Banana Productions Facebook page, on May 23, and is now available to view on YouTube.