Remote explores the journeys of a mother and son to overcome trauma and build a relationship of trust and love.
At opening, Dr. John, an African-American psychiatrist, is visiting his patient, Jamie, a Caucasian child, in a psychiatric hospital. Jamie is being evaluated as a possible victim of abuse by his mother, Deanna who, it is revealed, is a barely functioning alcoholic. Jamie is mute. He is holding a television remote control device, his attachment to David, his recently deceased father. Dr. John comments on how good it would be to “rewind” and replay the past. In the second scene, a flashback, Jamie and David, his father are enthusiastically discussing a dance video. Deanna, Jamie’s mother, enters hung-over. Tension between David and Deanna is revealed, with Jamie unsuccessfully attempting to serve as a bridge between them.
The play thereafter follows Dr. John’s somewhat unorthodox efforts to overcome Jamie’s withdrawal into silence. He has an unlikely ally in this process in another young patient, Dominique (“like the b-baller, not the singing nun”), an African-American break-dancer and rap poet who engages Jamie through their mutual love of dance. Dominique has been hospitalized after a serious physical encounter with his abusive father.
On a parallel tracks, Remote shows Deanna’s journey to come to terms with her own traumatic and past, overcome her alcoholism, and free herself from an abusive affair; and Dr. John’s struggle to recover from the guilt and trauma of a parent’s murder of a former patient.