Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Touch of the Theatrical

While we've discussed film to no end, we've not devoted much space to theater.  Mainly, this is because theater tends to shy away from those geek elements that inspire and intrigue us.  Even the plays we've seen and loved have little content fitting this forum.

But today we've witnessed a play which embraces the geek.  It is a science fiction piece titled "there will come soft rains", and if you're in New York, there remains one more scheduled performance.

The piece actually consists of three short plays, each adapted from a different science fiction story.

The first is a story we in The Middle Room are very familiar with: "How the World Was Saved", by Stanislaw Lem, is taken from The Cyberiad, our single favorite science fiction work.  We have long held out hope that some clever director would purchase the rights to produce an animated version of this work, but we never expected to see our favorite robotic constructors, Trurl and Klaupacius, adapted for stage.  Of the three shorts, this was by far our favorite.  There was ample opportunity to ruin this piece, but at every turn, the creators revealed a deep appreciation for the source material - including the artwork - as well as ingenuity and inspiration.  Puppets were used for the robots, while the great nihilistic machine at the story's heart was played by a troop of actors.

"On the Nature of Time", by Bill Pronzini and Barry N. Malzberg, is the only story of the three we've never read.  This was a solo performance about time travel made possible by projections, allowing the same actor to exist in different places at once.  The effect is impressive, particularly as the cyclical nature of time is explored.

The final piece is the best known.  "There Will Come Soft Rains", by Ray Bradbury, is considered a classic.  The piece was interpreted through pantomime, shadow puppets, and simple props.  It was highly enjoyable, though perhaps a little long.  Still, the trio of actresses performing this piece kept this interesting as they convincingly created the impression of a set from the simplest of props and, as is only appropriate to the work, crafted a character from that phantom set.

The three plays, while seemingly unrelated, formed a trilogy of sorts.  The first piece was a sort of creation myth, the second a tale of recurrence, and the final an apocalyptic tale.  There was a great deal of thought placed into the play, and we found ourselves entertained, intrigued, and most of all, impressed.

If you've nothing else to do this Wednesday evening, you may want to consider seeing if tickets are available.


Threat Quality Press said...

What? What the hell? How come I didn't know about this?

Threat Quality Press said...

By which I mean, how come I didn't know about this blog.

I know why I didn't know about the play.