Gaming as research, worlds within worlds, and the REMOTE rehearsal process: Thoughts from Assistant Director Rei

With opening night at Camden People’s Theatre steadily approaching, the REMOTE team have been working hard in the rehearsal room. For insights on REMOTE’s conception, sketching and scratching the show and the inspiration behind it, check out Director Tassos Stevens’ previous blog posts.

Rei Poh joined the Coney team last month, taking on the mantle of Assistant Director for REMOTE. Hailing from Singapore and on placement from the University of Melbourne where he’s undertaking his MA, we’re excited to have drawn him half way around the world to work on the show with us – and he’s been plenty busy as REMOTE launched into rehearsals last week. But more on that from the man himself…

After 17 hours and 10,841 km of journeying in the skies of the world from Singapore to London, I’m currently sitting in the kitchen of Artistic Director Tassos Stevens who is also the Director of REMOTE, with my gaming laptop, brainstorming the world of SALLY.

I’ve been tasked with aiding Tassos Stevens by assisting directing, particularly in investigating the space and time in the production of REMOTE. I first came across or heard of REMOTE through Tassos when I was looking for a placement and had a friendly chat with him over Skype. He requested that I play the video game The Stanley Parable (I mean, seriously, who plays video games for work… this must be a dream!); he later revealed that he had drawn inspiration for REMOTE from this game, alongside the play Attempts on Her Life by Martin Crimp. Having played that game (YES!) and studied the play (Which I’m proposing to do for my Final Production of my Masters), I came over to London wide eyed, filled with joy and excitement for what to come.

Largely expecting that we might be playing/working on something more like a video game, I did not see what was to come in reality. The level of intellectual discourse in the room is over 9000 (power gauge explodes). The reason why the project needs to have so much intellectual discussions is that we are basically creating a world within a world within a world (think Inception). Let me show you why (SPOILERS):

Rei1 

 

In the performance of REMOTE, there are three worlds: the reality (you know, the one you and me live in), the fictional reality (the one you will be seeing on stage) and the fictional fiction (the story being told in another story). This is MASSIVE! Which means the team has sacrificed a lot of brain cells for this show but become super determined to produce a mind-blowing piece. Not to reveal too much, this is one of our earlier ideas of how the WWW (World in World in World) might look:

Rei2

In the rehearsals, I was met by a wonderful team who are willing to listen and contribute at the same time. This is crucial for a devising process and that people are not overly precious with their ideas. Tassos is definitely the leader in the process and has showed me how certain games can be used for devising. There was an exercise in particular where we sat and had to take turns dreaming the world of REMOTE, where we shared and presented our ideas like a gift to the team. It is also not without its challenge, because of its complicated world, we had to struggle (like a practicing monk, I believe it is good to be struggling when trying to “gain enlightenment”).

Rei3

Struggling is always good, as we pushed to have a sharing at the end of the week where we received responses that are encouraging and useful.

Looking forward to the rehearsal phase where I can further investigate the space of the world in REMOTE. =)

REMOTE will be opening at Camden People’s Theatre on Tue 19 April and running until Sat 30 April. Click here for more info and to buy tickets.

 

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