Devised & Created by
Third Angel presents
Northern Stage, Newcastle, UK
This story has grown in the telling.
The conversation with Dr. Simon Goodwin that started it all off actually happened during the process of making another show, 9 Billion Miles From Home. That show was also partly inspired by the Voyager space programme, and grew to be about wider issues of distance and time. In the end, only one thing Simon had said to me - about the speed of light and falling through space - made it into that show. Not long afterwards his explanation of light clocks made it, somewhat unexpectedly, into the short film Technology. But the bulk of what we talked about had just stayed in my head, sometimes coming out in conversations with friends when another space exploration story hit the news.
Then in 2013 we got a commission to make a short spoken word piece for ARC’s Northern Elements project. One of the themes for the commission was ‘a moment when something had changed’. The conversation with Simon back in 2006 suddenly came back to me – and I realised this was a story I still wanted to tell.
This first version toured as a 20 or 30 minute ‘performance lecture’ for a couple of years, for spoken word nights, festivals, art/science events and as one of the ballads in Northern Stage’s The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project at the Edinburgh Fringe. This year, though, it began to grow, new details creeping in, new areas opening up to be explored. We’re grateful to our good friends at Northern Stage and malavoadora.porto for giving us a chance to try out telling this longer version of the story.
Given the astrophysics-lecture nature of the show, it feels appropriate to share some Further Reading. As well as the conversations with Simon, other influences on the ideas in this piece include the books:
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens…Where Is Everybody?: Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life by Stephen Webb
…along with several episodes of the brilliant RadioLab podcast, especially the one about CRISPR.
Thanks very much for coming to see the work – we’d love to talk to you about it after the show.