Movie Short Review: ‘Play It Safe’

Greetings again from the darkness. The camaraderie is obvious in this class full of aspiring young British actors. They go through their drills and encourage each other to stretch their boundaries, as that’s the favored approach to honing their acting skill.

Jonathan has been approached by the teacher and a couple of classmates to play an inner-city character in their upcoming play. Of course, Jonathan is the only black man in the class, and he attempts to be graceful in turning down the obviously stereotypical role. When class resumes, they are each to draw a card from a hat and immediately act out the animal on the card.

Already sensitive to stereotypes, Jonathan’s draw is quite unfortunate. As it plays out, writer-director Mitch Kalisa captures the discomfort amongst the students’ faces, while keeping Jonathan mostly off-camera. It’s a terrific performance from Jonathan Ajayi, and a powerful message from filmmaker Kalisa in his 12 minute short.

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