WAF Young Reviewer - Missing Pages Theatre's Sunday Morning

15th July 2021

By Danu Webb

It is a common practice to mechanically get through the morning routine without paying much attention to one’s thoughts and surroundings. Missing Pages Theatre depicts a sensory, peaceful and most of all, mindful, way of going about the busy morning.

The short film begins with an introduction from Alena Skalova, who created the concept of ‘Sunday Morning’ with Beatrice Sica. Initially, it is easy to believe from the title of the show that it is yet another artistic attempt to introduce mindfulness to the general public – especially one that is trained in the rigour of early rising and spending late hours at work.

Skalova and Sica question the norm of rushing through the day through exploring the function of the body in the morning, and the multitude of sensations that are often ignored. Two paper eyes are represented on a blank white canvas, perhaps representing the consciousness in a dream-like state. The creators mark the two landscapes of consciousness and sub-consciousness, as one eye is separated from the other. Note that the hovering eye remains in a stark white environment, whilst the other delves into an array of colour and motion.

Through paper cut-outs and stop-motion, the creators visually imagine these two states in the mind to the audience in an engaging sensory manner. The ambient soundscape successfully transports the viewer to a peaceful state of mind, as the paper eyes are replaced by those of Skalova as they awaken from their sleep. Suddenly, the morning becomes a picturesque ritual through the lens of a handheld camera. Rich colours meld together through a cut-and-stick process, enriching the narrative of the morning.

It is unsurprising, then, to realise that Missing Pages Theatre adapted the story of the Buddha, titled ‘Siddhartha’s Journey’, in a similar process of collage and object theatre. Neoclassical notes being played in the background lends the production a quiet subtlety.

The creators bring the audience to visualise the scenes of the morning at a slow pace. “My feet would love to swim on their own, without the weight of the body”, narrates Skalova over a film of someone brushing their hair. The voice of the body is emphasised, showing the importance of giving attention to one’s health and feelings of the vessel. Through focusing on the fingers, they come alive – ‘diving’ and ‘[enjoying] touching everything’. The close-ups of the limbs are not only aesthetically pleasing, but effective in calming the viewers’ thought processes and creating a fertile state for mindfulness to be enacted in real life.

‘Sunday Morning’ is a beautiful form of media for the public to understand what it means to be mindful of the body and the functions it serves. It is an inventive and perceptive way of depicting the simple beauty that is revealed when giving a little bit more attention to the small details of our morning routine.

If you’re interested, you can see 'Sunday Morning' here: