Friday, October 10, 2008

New Sci-Fi Musicals

Two new science-fiction musicals are featured in this year's New York Musical Theatre Festival. The first, I Come For Love, finds a lovely alien landing in Roswell and discovering (all together now) "that which you humans call 'love.'" Co-authors Terrence Atkins and Jeffery Lyle Segal pastiche 1950s science fiction - not exactly a fresh field for spoof - and the results sound charming, if not revelatory. You can hear samples of the music here.

A review of the show at Discover Magazine segues into a think-piece on the interesting question, "Why aren't there more science fiction plays?" I've wondered that myself - especially since good sci-fi doesn't depend on effects for its impact, but rather, examines the effects on human psyches and society in the face of changing technology or (alien) cultures.

However, I can also point out two very noteable science-fiction stage shows. The 1921 play R.U.R. by Czech author Karel ńĆapek introduced the term "robot" into the lexicon, while Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a progenitor of both sci-fi and horror genres we know today, has been a stage hit since the Victorian era.

Meanwhile, in Ho Chi Minh City (how often do you get to type that?), the avante-garde show Nguoi Nam 2222 (Human Being in 2222) blends traditional Vietnamese performance with "the sexy moves of physical theatre." Written by Le Duy Hanh and soon to be translated into five languages, the play finds a husband-and-wife scientific team fighting the robots and clones that they themselves created, as the automata try to impose a soulless regime on Earth. Sounds interesting! Report from Viet Nam News here.

Thanks to io9.com for alerting me to these shows!

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