“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts”.
This is probably one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines and an allegory that has been used time and time again for very different purposes: the idea that we, as social beings, are constantly putting on a performance for others to see, whether consciously or not, opens an array of interpretations, metaphors and discussions about life.
In Florence Kosky’s (“The Otherworld (Short)”, “Splash! (Short)”) short film All The World’s A Stage, the allegory is used yet another time; but instead of using it to explain our lives, Kosky chooses to shed light on suicide instead.
If all the world’s a stage, what happens when we start to lose confidence in our ability to play?
Using the allegory to its fullest, the film follows The Actor, Jonathan Forbes (“Fearless (TV)”, “Catastrophe (TV)”), a wonderful performer loved by everyone both on and off stage and who never appears without his prestigious crown.
One day, however, the headdress is nowhere to be found and the Actor’s confidence is slowly replaced by a panic and anxiety that affects his performance.
His self-value, too closely attached to people’s appreciation of him on-stage, inevitably waver until he decides to leave the play forever.
To avoid an overly dramatic or dark tone, the film instead leans on fairytale elements: there are no dialogues, only an offscreen Olivia Colman (“The Crown (TV)”, “Murder On The Orient Express“) narrating a poem by Charlie Fox that reminds both of fairytales and Shakespearean plays and fits perfectly with the sets and cinematography.
Everything is beautiful and poetic, leading us into an awe-striking artificial world only to bring us closer to a very real and ugly issue.
The music that accompanies these eight minutes is a beautiful score by Alastair Adams and Max McGuire that swells and slows to the same rhythm as The Actor’s emotions, torn between frantic moments of panic and slow moments of doubts and depression.
The aftermath of the suicide is also shown in the second half of the short film, with its effect on the rest of the troupe. This decision becomes much clearer once you see the “in loving memory” title card at the very end: this is a movie that is made by people who have lost friends and family members to suicide and that is addressed to both victims of suicidal thoughts and the people around them.
Like any films treating such a serious issue, All The World’s A Stage is an essential watch and a film that should be shared widely; but besides its subject matter and relevancy, it is also a beautiful piece of art on every level.
You can see All The World’s A Stage at this years (2018) Raindance Film Festival.