Free online at YouTube
One of the joys of lockdown is that it’s led to the creation of more online content that we could possibly have dreamed of. Of course, the downside is that most content is free and so those creating it are doing so at their own expense, in the hope it will lead to future paid-for commissions.
Another great thing about online content is that it has made it possible to watch some shorts. I wouldn’t even consider trekking halfway across London for a ten-minute show, but in the comfort of your own home, well, finding ten minutes to watch The Space Between Us really shouldn’t present a problem.
Jordan Bernarde is the sole actor we witness in this one scene play. He spends the entire time knelt down in front of what looks like a derelict doorway, but this perhaps actually represents the state of his relationship with the mother of his son. It’s very quickly obvious that he is addressing the boy, trying to explain why his mum is taking him away. The camera is close up, making for a very intimate feel as Bernarde speaks directly into it, as if the viewer is his son. Maybe over a longer time this might become tiresome, but it’s a credit to the writing that it doesn’t outstay its welcome.
What is also made very apparent is the young son’s obsession with Star Wars. There is talk of light sabres and Luke Skywalker. As dad tries to explain the previous night’s shouting, he concocts a tall tale of alien abduction, quickly brushing over the son’s apparent reference to somewhat intimate probes in the process.
As with all shorts, the purpose is not to lay a whole story out in front of us, but rather offer a scene, a moment, something to grab attention and showcase the writing, the performer, the staging of it. And in those aspects, The Space Between Us works perfectly. It’s ten minutes that fly by. Bernarde delivers a moving performance, managing to find that line between just enough emotion and not too mushy. The writing is sharp as it slowly finds a way to explain the parent’s separation through Star Wars and aliens. And completing it all is the subtle and eerie background music from Andy Keenan.
The Space Between Us is what a short should be: it draws you in to the character, and in just that short space of time makes you feel you know him, sympathise with him, and above all, feel desperately sad at the loss of his son in his life. A worthy ten minutes of anyone’s time to see the promise from actor and writer.
Written by: Rick Allden
Directed by: Alun D Pughe
Produced by: Compacts