One-Act Science Fiction

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Is it possible to tell science fiction stories without computer-generated effects and blockbuster movie budgets?

The First Annual Los Angeles Science Fiction One-Act Play Festival answered that question perfectly, staging a series of short speculative fiction stories onstage at the Acme Theater.

The dialogue reminded me of the classic science fiction radio plays, but the creators spiced up the stories with multimedia material, mind-bending light and sound work, simple props and a team of great actors.

KCRW’s Which Way, LA? blog described how the show came about:

The idea came to actor David Dean Bottrell (“Boston Legal,” “And the Band Played On”) a few years back, after he’d read a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin: How about a festival of science fiction-themed stage plays? … When he opened up the idea, he was deluged with submissions from writers, as well as from performers eager to participate. Further affirmation came on Kickstarter, where he raised over $80,000 to support the concept.

The show last night ended with “Kaleidoscope” by Ray Bradbury, a short story about astronauts stranded in space. More than 60 years before Gravity, this story chilled audiences with the primal battle for survival in outer space.

The play adaptation literally stuck the audience in the middle of a spacecraft disaster. We saw what the great author wrote back in 1951, exposing the raw power and danger of space:

Hollis looked to see, but saw nothing. There were only the great diamonds and sapphires and emerald mists and velvet inks of space, with God’s voice mingling among the crystal fires.

Visit the festival website for ticket information. The festival also has a special NERD RUSH option: “Just show up at the box office and if there are seats available, you can get in for $15. Early arrival is highly recommended.”

You can also listen to the KCRW report on the festival at the link below…

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