The Last Clap is part of Kali SOLOS, a mini-series of monologues by female artists of South Asian descent which have been commissioned in response to the pandemic lockdown. Kali SOLOS have given 18 freelance creatives work during the Covid 19 crisis, and all have been recorded by actors in isolation.
The Last Clap is a short straight-to-camera film based on the first ten weeks of lockdown. It follows an actor’s journey from her last round of theatre audience applause to the last Thursday Night clap for care workers after she becomes a frontline worker.
Helena is a musical performer on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea when all her shows are cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic. Despite being slightly bewildered by the uncertainties of her new situation, the ever chirpy Helena sets up a Whatsapp group to stay in touch with her friends during lockdown. During which she writes a witty ukulele song about the lack of toilet roll, discovers she will never be a master baker and binges on Disney films. Her life changes dramatically when she gets a job in a local care home. Helena quickly learns that social distancing is impossible in her new work environment, and when coronavirus becomes rife in the care home, Helena’s usually resilient character is tested to the limit.
Mona Goodwin is instantly likeable as Helena. While facing new challenges in the care home she convincingly conveys her protagonist’s insecurities. She equally captures the moments of the fun in the home, such as dancing with the residents and the Easter egg hunt.
After many months of pandemic information overload some of the subject matter of The Last Clap already feels jaded. Nevertheless, Nessah Muthy’s writing has some lovely touches. One stand out moment is when one of the care home residents is confused by the staff wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and Helena tells her that they are at a fancy dress party and makes an ‘alien hat’ out of a shower cap to help her relax and ‘join the party’. Another time Helena steps-in and risks her own health by taking off her PPE glove to directly hold a care home residents dying hand. These very human moments are often understated and bring integrity to the watching experience. This is complimented by Helena Bell’s no frills simple editing and direction.