Remote is part game, part theatre, part thought experiment. The premise is that during the show, you (the audience) are collectively choosing the destiny of 'a person like yourself'; in our show she's called Miriam, lives in Oxford, sees herself as young and female, and tends towards impulsivity (yep, can identify). All of the decisions in the piece (including the character traits in the previous sentence) are made through binary options presented to us as 'Would you like X or Y? For X, raise your card, for Y, do nothing' the majority decision is noted by the performers and determines the next step each time. So it's a collective choice, but you'll notice that already one of the options is easier to choose, requiring inaction as opposed to action. And so the piece will continue; blurring the notion of choice with suggestion, reverse psychology and assumptions based on previous decisions. We are presented with choice in a new, modern sense - the kind of choice involved when Google helpfully remembers everywhere you've been using your GPS data (because you didn't choose to turn off the setting).
While interrogating what it means to make decisions in a world where so much of the process is hidden, Remote also presents us with questions about this transparency itself. At the beginning of the piece, two women enter the space, dressed in cartoonish outfits with their hair piled in buns on their heads. They tell us they're here to make the computer game "more human", and that is exactly what they do - everything they say or do during the piece is dictated by the game, which is just a computer algorithm. They are living and breathing humans, making jokes, laughing about the warm-up they did offstage beforehand, commenting on members of the audience; the fourth wall is well and truly broken down. We know that they are reading the majority of their lines from the tablets in front of them. So why do they continue to make the experience feel more like an interaction with a human and less like a computer game? It's a scary insight into the potential for technology to do just enough to hide its ugly inhuman non-face and get more out of you than you might otherwise offer to a machine. It's very clever.
The energy of the piece was fairly low, and the performers perhaps slipped out of their onstage personas a few too many times, but overall this piece did everything it was supposed to. It's an interesting exploration of choice and what it means to be offered it or deprived of it. Big stuff.