As it approaches mid Summer, all eyes turn to the fringe for a great range of entertainment and/or drama in a variety of places! This is for the experimental and the ideas-driven theatre goers and makers of all forms. There’s recently been an article about Science Fiction being the new realism of the 21st century and beyond and the rise of popular science and nerd culture is evidence of this.
So, can the same be said for Science Fiction/Fantasy on stage?
It certainly seems to be the case in the UK! Here’s a non exhaustive attempt at the listings of some genre friendly performances! (Apologies in advance to any shows I’ve missed out!)
Geek Chocolate recently released a list of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror friendly performances that are taking place at the Edinburgh Fringe. These include adaptations of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken, JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit, the works of Edgar Allan Poe and the SF staple Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. SF theatre programmes are rarely found without paying homage to Star Trek- there are the shows What Would Spock Do? and a one woman play called Jean Luc Picard and Me. Science shows and interactive media can also be found in abundance too, with the shows To Space and The Reality Tunnel playing amongst others.
There’s also The Sick of the Fringe in Edinburgh by the Wellcome Trust – a festival that brings together scientists/medics and performers to discuss, present and debate the myriad of major issues that affect our lives today and will have a major impact in our future. These include the vast areas of research and medicine and the effects they will have on the human race and our identity. This is open from the 10th to the 28th August.
Meanwhile, further south towards London, we are experiencing the Camden Fringe. Bad Bat Productions are performing King Chaos: the science fiction comedy by Steve Jordan. Dark Matter by Veterbra Theatre depicts an astrophysicist losing his memory through puppetry. My company Stars or Mars are bringing two science fiction shows to the Fringe this year: exploring the link between virtual and corporeal in Cuckoos and Chrysalides and the effects of a growing hivemind community in SUM. There’s also the stand up comedy My Life as a Geek by Samar Mihardi.
This is barely the tip of the iceberg for shows at the summer fringes!
In September, the Clapham Fringe will present Bloodletting by Emma Gibson– a chilling play where the youth must prove their worth by selling their blood to their older clients; a play that won the Bread and Roses playwriting contest in 2015. Bare Faced Theatre are also putting on a comedy about a woman attending her first LARP in, surprisingly, LARP!
From October 24th -25th, we also have the Talos Fest in the Chelsea Theatre that is staging a full program of Science Fiction Theatre.
Art reflects and builds upon our worldview; how we see ourselves and each other in light of technological and social developments. In the UK, it seems, Science Fiction is taking over. How is Science Fiction presented and shared on stage where you live?