When Anywhere happens to be the edge of the Earth.
Reading the blurb for SPACE got me so excited that I immediately pinned this as one of the shows I most wanted to see. The concept is an interactive reality-tv-parody that is set in space. That is several of my favourite things – sign me up!
SPACE: The Flat Frontier is a tongue-in-cheek satire that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is a lot of clever word play and fun jokes if you are paying attention. The list of things that are sent up in this piece is impressively long and ranges from reality tv to capitalism, and most of all, flat-Earthers. The premise of the fictional reality show is that flat-Earthers specifically get sent to the moon to admire Earth and embarrassingly discover that the planet is round in front of millions of at-home viewers. The characters of the contestants drew on the common stereotypes of science-deniers we see nowadays. The behind-the-scenes characters (whose faces we don’t see) drew on the stereotypes of exploitative big money villains. This did, I think unfortunately, create an entire cast of characters without anyone likeable to root for. When you essentially don’t want either side to win it is hard to stay attached to the outcome of the plot.
Setting out to do a live theatrical show with a choose-your-own-adventure element is a giant feat. It was fun to see this play out on stage and weighing up the possible timelines as an audience member. I do think this aspect of the show was one of its strengths, and wish that there had been more emphasis on it. When it came time in the play for eliminations, each audience member could raise their hand if they wanted a contestant removed from the tv show.
Gathering audience participation from a room of adults can be challenging, especially if it doesn’t happen till mid-way through a piece. I feel that most people watching were quite tentative and it seemed unclear if or how voting would affect the outcome of the play at first. Perhaps if there’d been a way to give voters more opportunities to play along, especially if it could happen earlier in the work, it would have allowed the audience have more fun with it. That being said, that would add so much more work to the creatives involved!
The show was presented upstairs at Anywhere favourite, Elements Collective, which was a super fun and comfortable warehouse space for it. The cast of SPACE was small and still endearing despite their not-as-pleasant characters.
Anywhere Theatre Festival is the perfect platform to explore interactive genres of theatre and other twists to layer on to ones performance piece! This show was the first submitted to Anywhere by Celestial Effects productions, and I certainly hope to see more from them in the future! The potential is there and with gumption like that the possibilities are endless! Much like the shape of the Earth itself, or so I’m told.