Looking Back At STAGED - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Looking Back At STAGED

Hannah looks forward by glancing back…
Television has seemed a little sparse this last year, production companies tried their best to persist through Covid. Everything that did manage to abide by the governmental restrictions came with the sad air of only being able to have two characters interacting on-screen at a time, it all seemed fairly empty. There was one new series that managed to put away with that nonsense though, a series that will remain a historical footnote of the ‘year that wasn’t’ for future generations to admire: Staged.

The premise was simple, and given the situation, an obvious one: pandemic zoom meetings. Its simplicity is what made Staged so enjoyable. It was a situation that, at the point of airing, we had all begun to succumb to; working from home was beginning to lose its once luxurious appeal, and the loneliness was setting in. So why does it seem that nobody else thought of doing this? Or if they did, why wasn’t it as publicized as Staged? There is only one reason for this, and that’s the casting.
After witnessing their chemistry in Good Omens, I can’t say I was surprised to see David Tennant and Michael Sheen teaming up once more. Even whilst filming in separate rooms, they still manage to bounce off each other in an almost chaotic way. Tennant’s playful boisterousness giving way to boredom and Sheen’s impending nervous breakdown was something we all needed to see: Everyone was struggling. The arts are something that suffered most through the lockdown, theatres being closed and performances rescheduled sometime into 2022, it was nice to get a glimpse inside this struggling world. Actors trying to muddle through to come out the other side with something to show to the world.

I have to admit, with such an uncertain feeling in the air, it was nice to laugh again. I mean, seriously laugh. Tears streaming down my face, clutching my sides, kind of laughing. Penned by Simon Evans, Staged provided us with, arguably, some of the most comedic moments on television in the past five years. Even into the second series, the comedy remained strong. Somehow, even the most inane conversations were hilarious, Tennant trying to speak Welsh and the heated debate over tone in the first series being two of my particular highlights. Something about grown men getting bratty with one another seems to be a succinctly British style of comedy.

It seemed to me, to be the pandemic answer to Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan’s ‘The Trip’. Two actors playing fictionalized versions of themselves and bickering as they slowly drive each other insane. It’s a tried-and-true comedic set-up and both Tennant and Sheen played to it spectacularly. Whether it be Michael Sheen zoning out of the conversation to stare at birds through his window, or David Tennant wearing the same hoodie for the entire first series, there was a feeling of familiarity there.
It’s strange watching it back now, as lockdown restrictions ease and we begin to emerge from the relative safety of our four concrete walls. As we visit family and hug loved ones once more. Whilst it once felt like this past year would never end, it’s already starting to feel like a distant memory. An anecdote we’ll share with future generations whilst watching re-runs of Staged with them like it’s ‘Only Fools and Horses’ or ‘Monty Python’, teaching them about ‘the year we all stayed inside’. There Staged will remain, encapsulating a part of our most recent history; reminding us to cherish those around us, and most importantly, reminding us to laugh.

Preferring the company of fictional characters to living, breathing people; it should come as no surprise that Hannah is a connoisseur of all things geek. Whilst their body resides in the capital of Wales, their heart resides in Middle-Earth and their mind remains firmly lodged in the memory of that embarrassing thing they did when they were eight.

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