The new play from Second Chance Theatre, Between Solar Systems, tells the story of the last human being, trapped on board a spacecraft with only the ship’s AI for company. We catch up with writer, director and Second Chance founder, Scott McArdle.
Firstly, tell us about Second Chance Theatre. What are your aims for the company?
Second Chance Theatre sprung from Murdoch University in late 2011 and aims at supporting local emerging artists in all facets. Whether that be actors, musicians, painters, or writers; we aim to create theatre from scratch and in new ways then we have before.
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What inspired you to write Between Solar Systems? What ideas are you trying to explore here?
I had the idea of writing a sci-fi play for a few years but it really came to fruition when I moved to Sydney early this year to study at NIDA. Really isolated from my home and being pushed to write something, I came up with this story of a man who was raised in isolation, who was lonely but didn’t know what loneliness was, having never met another human being before. When I came back after a few weeks, I wrote the first half on the plane, pouring my own sense of loneliness and desperation into it.
This is a science fiction piece - are you a fan of the genre? Are there any particular works you’re drawing on?
As the youngest of four, I grew up watching sci-fi instead of Disney (back when Star Wars wasn’t Disney…confusing times!). I love the genre’s ability to tell the same story as many other genres but creating unique landscapes and situations that make you look at it with fresh eyes. My favourites are Gattaca, Blade Runner, Star Wars, Sunshine, Ex Machina, and Alien (the original).
What was Finnegan Kruckemeyer’s input into the project?
I’ve loved Fin’s work for years and years, and luckily stumbled across his email. This year he’s been a big part of my life with Between Solar Systems and my Honours thesis. We started talking before Between Solar Systems at The Blue Room was even a consideration but once I asked him he jumped onboard as a sounding board. I had a very formed idea of the play by then so he was happy to polish and mainly to shoot questions at me that helped me think more and more about the world I was creating. We sent the script back and forth for weeks and then I began asking his advice on how to develop the piece beyond the show. More than anything now we just chat idly over email. I can’t wait to catch up with him in December!
What was the biggest practical challenge you faced on this one?
Bringing everything together has been the most strenuous part of the production. There were many sleepless nights for me wondering whether the projection, the sound, the lighting, and the set would be enough to let the audience suspend their disbelief and really run with the idea of where we were and what we’re trying to achieve. Luckily we had people watch the show over the last week who loved it and went, “Yes we completely understand and we were there with it!”
What are you hoping audiences take away from the experience?
We really want audiences to see something new. To come in really open to the idea of a serious sci-fi onstage and see a few things that make them go, “Wow! I’ve never seen that on stage before” or “That’s just like in that movie!” And really be blown away but also moved by this human story we’re trying to tell.
Between Solar Systems runs at The Blue Room Theatre until Saturday, September 26. For tickets and session times, go to blueroom.org.au.
Originally published in X-Press Magazine