remote – a play by stef smith

Hello readers!

So today, I thought I would tell you a bit about what’s going on in my life – more specifically, the play that I’ve been a part of during this week. This week, I have had the amazing opportunity to become part of not only a group – but a family of actors – to do the impossible: stage a play in just a week (or more like 6 days). Seems impossible, right?

On the first day, the huge task ahead seemed more than daunting – our director, Tristan, told us that professional actors would need at least three weeks to accomplish such a feat – we, a group of teenagers (most of whom had never met before), had but a couple of days.

Anyway, like I said, the first day was quite daunting at first, especially for me. I kinda hate going to places where I don’t know anyone (gets the anxiety levels right up there if you know what I mean) – plus, I hadn’t acted in ages (since I’m not doing GCSE drama *sigh*). Anyway, on the first day we just did some of the classic icebreaker games (one of them was to think of an adjective that began with the same letter of your name, and an action to go along with it. I, being the creative human that I am, went with ‘Tall Tolu.’), a read-through of the play (very long and boring but a good opportunity to get a grasp of the play) and LOADS of physical work. Like, my body was physically aching after the first day (anyone who says acting isn’t a workout obviously hasn’t tried physical theatre).

And, fitting with the slightly outlandish drama workshop stereotype, we were pretending to be trees. Yep, you read that right (although it’ll become clearer later). Along with that, we were also creating other quite intriguing images from the play (such as ‘a group of shrugs and sighs’). The cool thing was that we actually used a lot of the things we made on the first day in the final performance! Anyway, I’m sure you’re all buzzing to know what the actual play’s about, so here goes:

A girl called Antler steps out of her front door and throws her phone on the ground. She stamps on it. She then climbs the tallest tree in the park. She doesn’t want to be found, not by anyone. Seven teenagers’ lives all intertwine over the course of a single evening as they make their way through the park on a seemingly normal Autumn’s night.

Remote is a play about protest, power and protecting yourself.

Remote was originally a play for young people, commissioned by the National Theatre of London. During the spring of 2015 more than 60 young groups across the UK performed the play. The play has since been performed internationally and has been translated into portuguese for performances in Brazil.

So yeah… As soon as I read the synopsis (and later the whole play itself), I found it extremely intriguing. In an age where we literally can’t live without our smartphones, it’s quite a shock to see a characters in a play who literally destroys theirs. Anyway, she we were kind of short of time, the roles were handed out at the end of the first day – and to my surprise… I was given the role of the lead, Antler. Now don’t get me wrong, I was super happy (and surprised lol) to get the role – but I was kind of nervous about not being able to do it justice. I mean, Antler is presented as an incredibly complex character throughout the play – and I didn’t want to give a shoddy, two-dimensional portrayal.

However, I’ve got to say that throughout the week, I found myself identifying more and more with Antler, especially with all the character work that we did. I felt I could relate to the character in many ways: for example, Antler is frustrated with the apathy of people around her – and I get a strong sense of what she is feeling on a day-to-day basis. There are also several chorus passages in the play, expressing the numerous anxieties that Antler experiences (‘hurricanes, forest fires, delayed buses, milk prices, the age of consent…’) – I found that channeling into the similarities between our characters really helped me portray her more effectively.

Anyway, moving onto a more general overview of the week. I have to say that I am so glad that I signed up for this whole thing. Although it was super stressful trying to learn loads of lines and cues and monologues (I literally have like 6 monologues in the whole 63-page play) – not to mention the gruelling everyday 8-hour rehearsals –  I made so many great friends who I hope to see sometimes in the future – and that’s what made the experience 1000x better. Although it was kinda awkward on Monday, by Wednesday I felt like I’d known some of these people for ages. I tend to get kind of anxious/nervous talking to new people – yet I felt completely at ease talking to my fellow cast-mates (I literally miss them all so much omg).

So Saturday rolled around concerningly quickly – and boy, was it a long day. We were literally at the theatre from 11.30am in the morning all the way until the end of the show at around 9pm – although I did love every moment, tbh (plus, we got free pizza for dinner!). I think the performance went pretty well – and even though we did have a prompt (after all, we’d only had 5 days to learn all the lines!), I managed to remember all my lines! To top it all off, someone came up to me at the end of the show, congratulated me on my performance and said I should be an actress! (what a babe though)

Anyway, we actually might get to perform the play again, which would be amazing (updates on that soon!) – but in the meantime, I’m definitely going to be doing way more acting! That’s enough from me today.


totally tolu


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