The System online
Theatre and cinema have long relied on contrasting codes of communication to convey their messages. It is only recently that their separate narrative devices have been challenged, owing largely to the pandemic, forcing artists and creatives to think outside the box and come up with innovative and socially-distanced ways to tell stories.
Guy Unsworth’s The System does just this. Set in an interrogation room, the 70-minute production, which also happens to be live-streamed, sees young partygoer Emily Head (The Inbetweeners, Emmerdale, The Syndicate) having to endure a gruelling interview with a police officer following the death of her stepfather, Paul. Shortly after the account, she transforms into a different person altogether and the whodunit saga begins as viewers try to work out who the culprit really is.
The System is not just any show. It’s a bold, ambitious, experimental and intelligent production that completely revolutionises the industry through its hybrid storytelling. Filmed on a steadicam in one take by the supremely talented Ben Eeley (potentially making it the longest single-take live camera shot ever attempted), the thriller comes as a breath of fresh air. The camera has many roles to play, but most importantly those of police officer and voyeur. Ebbing and flowing through the cell, it supports Head’s performance by adding harmony, as well as creating moments of tension where needed.
Head has proven herself to be a jack-of-all-trades. Her Irish, American and Sheffield accents are spot on; her comic timing is on point; her ability to convincingly change personalities, ever so quickly, while wholly embodying each one of the characters she plays from flesh to bone is testament to her talent as a performer.
That a one-woman show can be as gripping and emotionally charged as this one, while managing to sustain the audience’s attention through the entirety of its 70 minutes, is proof that good writing can work wonders, and that playwrights can successfully perform their own work too, as Emily Head has done here.
For theatregoers looking for an adventure at home with mystery at the heart of it, The System is definitely a must – and it’s an opportunity to witness history in the making,
The System is available to stream from 8th September until 5th December 2021. For further information or to book visit here.