Spooky Action at a Distance
by Eve Leigh
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Cast: 3f 3m plus Chorus
A hard-hitting, poignant play about anti-immigration sentiment in Britain today.
A fascist demonstration and anti-fascist counter-demo are held in Dover. Bricks are thrown. Tweets are sent. Windows are broken. So are faces.
Before and after, near and far, people struggle to understand what happened, and the part they played.
Spooky Action at a Distance was first performed at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, created in association with the Royal Court Theatre, before performances at the Gate Theatre, London.
Content guidance: This play contains strong language, and references to sexuality and violence.
About the author
Eve Leigh is a playwright and theatre-maker. Plays include The Trick (Bush Theatre/Hightide National Tour), Spooky Action at a Distance (Royal Court/RWCMD/Gate Theatre, London), Stone Face (Finborough), Silent Planet (Finborough), The Curtain and Plunder (both Young Vic Taking Part), Enough (Birmingham REP Young Rep). Stone Face was shortlisted for three Offies, including Best New Play.
Interactive installations include The Voice of the House (Duppini Art Group, Veliko Ternovo), Climate Games (Laboratory of the Insurrectionary Imagination/Berliner Festspiele/COP21, Paris), Your Future (Camden People’s Theatre, Hebbel Am Ufer, Ballhaus Ost, and Sophiensaele, Berlin), and A Short and Boring Story (Camden People's Theatre).
Work as dramaturg includes the multi-award-winning How to Win Against History by Seiriol Davies (Young Vic/Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh/UK tour).
In 2017 she was the first-ever artist-in-residence at the Experimental Stage of the National Theatre of Greece. Upcoming work includes main stage commissions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Bush Theatre, and The Place/DanceEast.
Interview with Eve Leigh
Spooky Action at a Distance is set specifically on 30 January 2016. What is significant about that particular date?
That happened to be the date of a race riot in Dover, the next town over from where I was living at the time. I wanted to write something that reflected the reality of living as an immigrant in a border town. It was also about six months before the Brexit vote, which seemed menacing at the time and has become more so since.
The play is about isolation, social upheaval and community action. What drew you to these subjects?
I find this question difficult to answer, simply because I feel like all my plays are about exactly this! I'm obsessed with the delusion of being alone, and the reality that, for better and often for worse, we are in it together.
The play features a Chorus. Why did you choose this as a form of storytelling?
It feels like the internet is a chorus a lot of the time? I don't know. I wanted to hear massed voices, in contrast to the atomised individual voices of the rest of the play.
Do you have any advice for actors performing the play, or for directors staging it?
It seems complex but it's actually very simple. Just let the stories play out. Have faith that that can be enough.