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Sci-Fi in Theatre

2015-09-09 13:00:53 | 日記
As exciting as 2010 is already shaping up to be, one genre in particular will remain conspicuously absent from the London stage—science fiction. While the majority of Theatreland is focused firmly on screen-to-stage adaptations, jukebox musicals and revivals of safe classics, a whole universe of aliens, robots and lasers is being left unexplored. Even the most ardent theatregoer would struggle to name 3 shows that could be considered even vaguely sci-fi. It seems curious that sci-fi, the entertainment genre with the most dedicated fans imaginable, has not been embraced by theatre producers. The rise of the fangirl and fanboy is surely a hint that the time is right to bring science fiction into London theatre. Break out the Babylon 5 box-sets, ladies and gents. Your secret collection of sci-fi DVDs contains more potential blockbuster London shows than you may think. Take, for example recent Disney Pixar outing, Wall-E. Family-friendly, visually stunning and nominated for six Academy Awards in 2008, Wall-E could easily be Disney Theatrical's next big success. As wonderful as their current long-running stage adaptation of The Lion King is, it's time to give the Lyceum Theatre a break from Simba and pals. Designing sets to convey Wall-E's litter-strewn, abandoned Earth and space-faring cruise ship may be difficult but the good folks at Disney relish a challenge. In the past they've made Mary Poppins fly, transformed normal West End actors into lions and giraffes, and even pulled off Beauty and the Beast's tricky transformation scene. Science fiction in West End theatre doesn't sound so unlikely now, does it? It's no coincidence that many of the screen actors that do regular stints in Theatreland come from the sci-fi/fantasty camp. Recently, Torchwood's John Barrowman appeared in La Cage Aux Folles, X-Men and Star Trek's Patrick Stewart appeared in the RSC's Hamlet and a production of Waiting For Godot in which he played alongside Lord of the Rings' Ian McKellen. Doctor Who's David Tennant starred in the same RSC production of Hamlet as Stewart, X-Files pin up Gillian Anderson played Nora in Ibsen's A Doll's House just last summer and Marc Warren, star of cult Doctor Who episode Love And Monsters, is currently playing Ray Say in a revival of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. With so many respected actors performing Shakespeare one week and playing with lasers the next, you've got to ask yourself, what's the relationship? How can Patrick Stewart play a psychic so powerful he can move cities with his mind and then pull off a convincing Polonius?

The simple answer is, science fiction and classical drama are not all that different. The constant power struggles, the sense of wonder in the face of a new, rapidly expanding world, the strong class/command structures; every element of 'proper' drama is reflected in science fiction. Hopefully producers will realise this before too long and will start work on the first true science fiction West End musical. Hopefully they'll start with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; you can't go wrong with that.

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