Confessions of a Martian
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Confessions of a Martian

Posted September 5th, 2016
photo by Plate 3 Photography

(photo by Plate 3 Photography)

ONE WAY RED, the latest production from Medium Theatre Company, takes us to the fringes of the earth and beyond. It’s a sci-fi odyssey centered around the journey of a lonely hero, played by Dani Solomon, on a mission to join the first human colony on Mars. “She wants to live a life of distinction, she needs to have meaning, to stand out,” says Solomon. “But for her that means living hundreds of millions of miles away from her entire life. So is she a lonely hero, an anti-hero, an amateur escape artist? Not sure, maybe all of them.”

Here’s the twist: our (anti-) heroine’s martian journey is confined to her living room. She’s the star of a reality TV show that follows the drama of her space-bound imagination. The story is based on testimonies of applicants to join Mars One, a real world nonprofit organization founded for settling a colony in Mars. Solomon says that “their plan was to fund their entire Mars venture through crowd sourcing and creating a reality TV series that broadcasts the lives of the Martian colonists back to Earth.” For Solomon, what was most interesting about this organization was their open-call auditions to persons of all occupations. When she first heard about them, she was “struck by this vetting process – the valuation of personality over qualification.”

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(photo by Plate 3 Photography)

Formally, the show riffs on the confessional structure of reality TV. “Since ONE WAY RED is a solo show,” Soloman explains, “we’ve been exploring different ways to incorporate language into the show. We don’t use a lot of direct audience address, and instead have looked to other provocations for speaking alone to fuel language and language delivery within the show.” The confessional has been “has been one of the more interesting ways to get at this reality TV element as well as some of the filtered inner life of the character,” Solomon says.

ONE WAY RED is a show in two parts. Preceding the feature act is a grouping of spacey “satellite works” installed in the promenade of the Panorama, a recently converted warehouse in West Philly. For Solomon, “These satellite works are interested in this historical fascination with Mars and the possibility of life, the flipside of that also being the possibility that we are all alone. They serve as kind of a prologue to some of the ideas in part II.” The satellite works are designed in collaboration with a collective of theater and visual artists.

Panorama
5213 Grays Avenue
Philadelphia, PA, 19143
Sept 21-24 at 7:30 PM
Sept 25 at 2 PM and 6 PM

—Hannah Salzer

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