Actors, scientists collaborate theatrically in Untitled Mars (This Title May Change)

Edward Willett @ 17-03-2008

mars sunset Here’s some science fictional theatre with a difference. Called Untitled Mars (This Title May Change), it’s a collaboration between Budapest’s Pont Muhley theatre ensemble and a team of research scientists who will be (literally) phoning in their performance, live via satellite from the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. The production previews Tuesday, April 8, and opens Sunday, April 13, at Performance Space 122, 150 First Avenue at East 9th Street, New York. (Via Broadway World.)

Directed by Jay Scheib, it’s the first in a trilogy of live performance pieces collectively known as SimulatedCities/Simulated Systems. According to the press release:

Untitled Mars is a mind-bending excursion into an interplanetary future defined by Scheib’s signature multi-media aesthetic.  Rewriting fiction with reality, Untitled Mars caps a year of collaboration with an international team of Space industry visionaries, artists, and research scientists and students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Is it possible to live on Mars?  Just ask people who are selling real estate on the Red Planet.  Going to Mars with a one-way ticket was out of the question years ago but how far away from that idea are we today?  Mars Analog Research Stations are working hard to learn how to live and work on another planet.  Are you ready to pick up and leave?  Scheib’s creation will be able to give you an idea.

Meanwhile, the theatre’s own website describes it thusly:

Taking a cue from the space industry, Jay Scheib’s latest work pits hard Science against Philip K. Dick as interplanetary speculation runs amok, the indigenous population gets screwed, and a strange “anomalous” kid seems to hold all the answers.

Whereas Jay Scheib’s website says:

Would you go to Mars knowing that you wouldn’t be coming back? Ever. The proposed one-way mission to colonize Mars continues to gain momentum, since its suggestion by the legendary Joe Gavin, former director of the Apollo Lunar Module Program. Through a series of cinéma-vérité portraits and an intense physical performance style, Untitled Mars  puts the scientists who are working to make life on the Red Planet a reality, side by side, with some of the fictions that have captured our imagination for over a century. Science vs. Fiction in this new work for six performers and a simulated Martian environment–a story about moving society to Mars–and what happens when we succeed…

So what will you see if you go? Your guess is as good as mine. But it ought to be interesting!

(Image: Sunset on Mars, NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell)

[tags]science fiction,Mars,theatre,plays[/tags]


Star Wars meets Lara Croft on stage in Fight Girl Battle World

Edward Willett @ 11-02-2008

Noshir Dalal as Adon-Ra and Melissa Paladino as E-V; photo by Theresa Squire You know, when I decided that it would be fun to be the Futurismic blogger who kept tabs on science fiction stage productions, it never occurred to me there would be so many. But here it is another week, and here’s yet another SF-on-stage extravaganza:  Fight Girl Battle World, produced by Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, created by co-artistic directors Qui Nguyen and Robert Ross Parker, written by Nguyen (who also did the fight choreography) and directed by Parker. (Via BroadwayWorld.)

Here’s how they describe it:

Star Wars meets Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in this action-packed space odyssey for the stage! Set in a futuristic universe where the human race is on the brink of extinction, Fight Girl Battle World is the story of E-V, the last human female in all the known galaxies, and her quest to find the last human male before he is destroyed by alien forces. Accompanying her is a rag-tag team composing of an ex-military General, an alien spaceship pilot, and an overly sarcastic robot sidekick.

The production combines stage combat, puppetry and multi-media. Performances begin March 6 at Center Stage, NY (48 West 21st Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues). The show officially opens on Sunday, March 9, and will run through March 39.

(Photo: Noshir Dalal as Adon-Ra and Melissa Paladino as E-V; photo by Theresa Squire)

[tags]Star Wars, Lara Croft, theatre, science fiction[/tags]


H.G. Wells on a roll: Time after Time becomes a musical

Edward Willett @ 01-02-2008

H_G_Wells Another entry in my quixotic quest to keep you posted on SFfish stuff on the stage: hard on the heels of the stage version of The Time Machine I blogged about earlier comes the news that Time after Time, the movie in which H.G. Wells uses his time machine to pursue Jack the Ripper to the modern era, is being turned into a musical. (Via SyFy Portal.)

Although it’s still early going on the project, playwright and lyricist Stephen Cole says:

“We have done several readings and the show is ready for a full fledged production…We have a prominent director interested who’s chomping at the bit and a producer with money. We’re looking for a proper venue to try it out and work on it. Musicals are tough to get right and the more work you can do in front of a real audience the better.”

Why Time after Time and not The Time Machine itself? Because, says Cole:

“I met a director who was interested in a sci-fi musical, so I considered ‘The Time Machine’ and told him to watch ‘Time After Time’ for reference…Eventually I realized a musical with Morlocks would be a surefire flop and became more enamored with Meyer’s film. Then I got the rights.”

Personally, I think a chorus kick-line of Morlocks would be boffo box office, but that’s just me.

(Image: Wikimedia Commons.)

[tags]H.G. Wells, musicals, theatre, science fiction[/tags]


A stage version of The Time Machine

Edward Willett @ 25-01-2008

As the resident person-of-theatre here among the Futurismic bloggers, it behooves me to draw to your attention the first-ever stage version of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, which opened at the Women’s Club of Hollywood today for the first of 13 performances. (Via SF Signal.)

The novel has previously been adapted into two films, at least one television movie, and a number of comic books. It seems to be a real labor of love for Julian Bane, who is the producer, the lead actor, and the person who built the title prop and the sets. He also had a hand in the script with writer/director Phil Abatecola.

From Bane’s bio, elements of which will resonate with certain of us:

Born in Curitiba, Brazil in 1967, Julian Bane arrived in the United States at the age of 11. His love for the arts started at an early age: first with comics and drawing superheroes for his school paper to shooting Star Wars action figures and Styrofoam planets with a Super 8 camera, all the while building miniature sets and props. As a young man, Bane admired, leading characters in shows such as DOCTOR WHO and Star Trek. These characters later influenced Bane to become an actor.

“Their impact on my young mind was strong,” says Bane. “The DOCTOR and Captain Kirk were some of the best characters ever created.”

I’d love to know if it’s any good, so if a Futurismic reader happens to take it in…

(I’d also love to know why Bane put DOCTOR WHO in all capitals in his bio, but you can’t have everything.)

[tags]H.G. Wells,time machine,plays, theatre[/tags]


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