News and Updates!

With the unfortunate news that we couldn’t stage Cuckoos and Chrysalides in April, I have some exciting announcements that I will list here and on the Stars or Mars website!

June is going to be a pretty heavy month for me, that’s for sure.

1st June:
logoWe are taking the stage at the Hackney Attic with our show called RESPAWN! The play follows two identities trying to find peace with their pasts and present, which has been drastically changed through the process of uploading consciousnesses. Can they prove that immortality doesn’t have to be a hard sell?

I will be giving talks at the Current Research in Speculative Fiction 2015 in Liverpool, talking about the portrayal of Time in Science Fiction Theatre, as well as the Being Non/Human conference in London and Smashing the Stigma of Science Fiction Theatre at the SFRA conference in Stony Brook. Miraculously none of these dates clashed, taking place on the 8th, 17th and the 25th-27th respectively.

sum-front-coverSUM will also be returning this year, but at the Camden Fringe from the 28th-30th August! Very excited about this! I’ll give you more updates as they arrive.

Speak soon!

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Non Fiction Friday – Stage the Future!

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For those who don’t know, I’m doing my PhD on Science Fiction¬†and Theatre. When I mention it, I get one of 2 responses. One is often “Oh… I see. Are you going to write an SF novel?” to “Oh my gosh! Fantastic! I’ve always wanted to see SF in theatres!”. I have received more of the latter (although I am going to write an SF novel, but primarily my interest is on the theatrical side), and so am very privileged to be celebrating the combination of the two with Christos Callow Jr. for our conference Stage the Future.

There has been little written on the subject, it has to be said. We have Science Fiction and the Theatre by Ralph Willingham, although with some good mentions of cognitive estrangement, has an apologetic tone and casts certain stereotypes over SF and subsequently, its staging. We also have Staging the Impossible, which does set out to mention the possibilities of staging SF, but in its wake cataloguing a list of defeats. I will be reviewing the two in earnest, do not worry! However, there is a line in the latter that speaks to me(originally from Julius Kargalitski’s essay The Fantastic in Cinema and Theatre):

Consequently,¬†for¬†Kagarlitski,¬†cinema¬†is¬†“an¬†ideal¬†instrument¬†of¬†the fantastic”¬†(11),¬†for¬†it ¬†“excludes¬†any¬†possibility¬†of¬†interference”–in¬†effect¬†offering¬†viewers the¬†sense¬†that¬†“what¬†has¬†been¬†put¬†on¬†film,¬†has,¬†as¬†it¬†were,¬†already¬†happened”¬†(11).

Kagarlitski¬†implies¬†that¬†it¬†is¬†difficult¬†for¬†a¬†theatrical¬†production¬†to¬†“project”¬†such¬†a¬†sense¬†of historicity¬†and¬†thus¬†validate¬†the¬†content¬†of¬†drama.¬†Given¬†this¬†viewpoint,¬†audiences¬†expect less¬†from¬†a¬†production¬†of¬†science¬†fiction¬†in¬†a¬†theater.(Murphy, 198)

There’s something very misleading in this. He mentions in the article that theatre is a conditional art, generating power from the present moment (p10/11). In our “Information Age”, are we not in fact living this SFnal life now? Donna Harraway described us of being Cyborgs in her Manifesto in 1985. We have our information, our footprint, our history in the cloud as it were, our younger generations have their baby photos as purely digital. We are all connected via a grid that, whilst enabling accessibility, erodes our privacy and interaction with the wholly physical world. We are 3D printing human organs, for crying out loud! Is SF then not about exploring our conditional present? Exactly what was being said to dissuade us from staging it in the first place?

Whether you agree or disagree with me, we would love to hear your takes on the subject. Proposals for papers and performance (we couldn’t do one without the other) are welcome with the deadline being Feb 2014. The conference will be held at RHUL, University of London on the 26th April 2014 with our excellent keynote speakers Jen Gunnels and Nick Lowe.¬†You can see our CFP here.

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We look forward to seeing you there!