Monday, May 30, 2016

Space explores the horrors of living in space at Fringe.


Space, written and directed by Cory Volence  and produced by Hubris Theater Company and the Dark Side of Saturn is a hard hitting psycho drama set in the confines of a colony ship on a 15 year mission to establish biological life on a distant planet. In the pre-show, crew members described their feelings about the mission in a promotional video. Their accounts are idealized visions of a future of possibilities.

The show opens with Chief engineer Hightower (Trini Kirtsey) in a spacesuit unable to get back into the spacecraft. The heated debate about the risks of letting him back in, sets the stage for seeing Commander Copeland (Chaz Krivan) as a power hungry despot. The commander is married to Science officer Chesky (Ashleigh Ann Gardner). She is pregnant and the commander is pleased that his family name will live on.

Living together on a tiny tin can of a ship has the crew on edge and at each others throats. The commander treats his wife like he does the crew with authoritarian disrespect. When Chesky visits Medical officer Novak (Brenna Arden), the doctor shows concern and the women kiss, free of any male domineering. The doctor herself is troubled with dreams of suicide.

A video diary station allows crew members to express their true feelings although they often have to erase their entries from the ships official record. The videos are projected on the large screen at the back of the stage allowing the audience to see jumbo tron sized close ups of the crew members faces. Dark circles show the increasing stress of living in confined close quarters with crew members who all hate each other. The crew members were all trained to perform one specialized roll on the mission. There was no cross training. That makes every member of the crew indispensable. That makes if difficult, when crew members truly want to kill each other.

I loved the show. The dark vacuum of space is nothing compared to the darkness found in the heart of a human soul. A special shout out to Chaz Kriran and Ashleigh Ann Gardner, who gave particularly noteworthy performances.

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