Space Oddity by Katharina Hone

PlayPen Get to the End will be presenting the fifth of seven full-length plays in development at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 23rd January at 7:45PM. The play is Space Oddity by Katharina Hone, a thought-provoking play about space exploration and the state of humanity.

Space Oddity is written by Katharina Hone, directed by James Baker and performed by Catrin Fflur Huws, Darren O’ Connell and Jason Philpot.

While humanity celebrates the first successful round-trip to Mars, it takes three slightly deranged employees of the Mars Odyssey company – an astronaut, a theoretical physicist, and a space engineer – to raise serious questions about the future of humanity. Facing such formidable concerns the three cannot help but turn a little bit loopy.

The writer Katharina Hone said, “-To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.- It’s one of those famous sci-fi quotes that still resonate with me from my childhood. Two of my characters mention it at the beginning of the play. One of them even mocks the unmitigated spirit of exploration and progress that the quote exudes. Yet, the quote really touches on something. This is my first play and the excitement of exploring something new and to boldly go where I have never been before were incredible. Theatre is a strange new world for me and I didn’t have any pre-conception or expectations, nothing previous to compare myself to. That’s a great situation to be in!. And so, I boldly explored.”

Sandra Bendelow said, “I am particularly proud of Space Oddity and the role the PlayPen project played in supporting Katharina to get to the end of writing the script. Katharina was taking a scriptwriting course I teach for Aberystwyth University Lifelong Learning, she was completely new to scriptwriting and the idea evolved from an exercise I did to push the writers to get an idea to use for the course. As soon as she explained her idea I was really excited about the potential. It started as a film script but quickly she realised that it had real power as a theatre script. I was really pleased when Katharina submitted the idea to Playpen as it’s perfect for a writer like Katharina – it provides a deadline, workshops and the invaluable and very rare opportunity to have a play taken from the page and staged. It allowed Katharina to explore her idea and challenged her to push the idea further. It has also been a great experience for the director and the cast because the play offers three great, distinctive characters for them to play and allows a director to explore the themes visually and physically. ”

James Baker said, “It instantly struck me as a unique voice. From basically the first page I was dead set on directing the play. It was such an interesting beast, just rammed full of ideas and strange concepts, disinclined to naturalism and a comfortable sense of reality. Bouncing between philosophical monologues and berserk physical theatre. It’s the sort of theatre I want to see more of in general.  Since the first 20 minutes were written the play has changed dramatically. Or not so much changed as grown. Or matured. It’s finished its story, obviously, its characters have rounded out and their personalities and inter-relationships are now positively vivid. Its action has become more diverse, its range of tones has spread and its rhythm has settled into a controlled chaos. All of this is down to Katharina’s astonishing speed at getting to grips with writing the form without compromising her own vision for the work. It’s been a joy having her along for the process. She takes on board all the feedback offered, considers it all and, crucially, just only does what feels right to her in the end. I cannot wait to see how good her second play is going to be!”

Catrin Fflur Huws said, “What delights me about this role of Dr No is the different facets of the character. What came across when I originally read it was that the two men are a little boys’ club who have their in-jokes and their loyalty to each other, that she is excluded from. She’s therefore got a tough job prove herself and to not accept the superiority they assume – she is equal to them, and intelligent. She has just as much of a right to be there as them. That strength is fun to play. However, that contrasts very effectively with her more personal moments when she is amazed and humbled and overwhelmed and entranced by how tiny she is, how small she is in a massive universe.”

PlayPen Get to the End began in March 2017 with PlayPen: Beginnings, with the first twenty minutes of 8 plays by local writers across 2 nights featuring 42 characters and performed by over 30 actors. This part of the project has been named ‘Get to the End’ in reference to the project supporting writers to achieve the very simple but often evasive task of simply getting to the end of writing a play.

PlayPen: Get to the End is a development project by Scriptography Productions produced by Richard Hogger, Tom O’Malley and Sandra Bendelow.

Space Oddity will be at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Tuesday 23rd January 7.45PM

Tickets for Space Oddity are available through the box office 01970 623232 or  https://www.aberystwythartscentre.co.uk/theatre/playpen-space-oddity

The final two PlayPen Get to the End projects will be presented as follows

13th February 7.45PM 2018 – Blinds written by Caroline Clark, Directed by Roger Boyle

13th March 7.45PM 2018 – Death Comes to St Michaels written by Tom O’Malley, Directed by Caroline Clark