Who has never pretended to be someone else to help a friend? To help them prepare for what is generally assumed to be a future hard and dramatic conversation? Who has never embodied a future single-again girlfriend or boyfriend, a to-be-fired employee, or a parent about to hear some of the craziest news from one of their kids? Everybody’s already put on masks. At least once… But what happens when the mask falls off after a long time of thorough acting?
Total Performance is the story of a girl putting on a mask almost 24/7 as her everyday job. Cori Sweeney (Tory Berner) is an actress whose main gig is a little different than that of the mere comedian. Cori works for a company that employs actors to play opposite real people who want to rehearse a difficult conversation. A breakup, a firing, or even an embarrassing confession, the company that she works for provides a living, breathing ‘sparring dummy’ for their clients.
In a very witty way and mixing both drama and comedy, film director Sean Meehan shows through this short film how – somehow – everyone’s putting on masks today. If not to help a friend, then it is in most cases for self-protection – a way to avoid opening up.
But things get slightly more complicated for Cori when the mask unintentionally falls off and she finds herself ‘naked’ in front of Tim Madsen (Steven Conroy), a young man she went on a date with, started to really fancy, and who has required the services of Total Performance.
Uplifted by very good dialogues, brilliant acting and an attention-grabbing plot, Sean Meehan’s short film depicts the complexity of human relationships, showing that feelings are never as easy to handle as one would wish them to be; and tackles the problem of today’s communication that is a lot disabled by social media or any other personal spaces that can be curated the way one wants and thus faked, and which create a more and more insensitive world getting away from real interactions and sensations, and where people eventually get lost into.
Thanks to Total Performance, Sean Meehan raises some questions. Where is the line between comedy and reality? Are the masks we put on eventually disappearing? Or do they stick and become a second skin, preventing us to completely be ourselves?
* Watch the short film *
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