by Stephen Livesey Ashworth
- The Moonlighter -- a full-length play set on the Moon.
A rehearsed reading on 27 February 2005 at the Port Mahon pub organised by myself featured Kevin Elliott, Juliet Humphrey, Bill Moulford, Alex Nicholls, Lynnette Peterson, Helen Taylor, Aldyth Thompson and Tim Younger.
- No Lifeline But Numbers -- a full-length play set on board the British Sir Isaac Newton space station orbiting 250 miles above the Earth. Astronauts George and Freddy receive a visit from Monica, the woman from the Ministry whose mission is to gather proof that the station is a waste of money and must be closed down. Can George save the accident-prone project, and ought he to be allowed to? (More details here.)
A rehearsed reading in October 2001 was organised by Jenny Wiles and featured Mark Eariss, Bill Moulford, Gloria Deacon and other actors.
- Terror On Special Offer -- a one-act terrorist comedy set in Brandsworth's supermarket. Elaine and her boyfriend Rudi find themselves trapped in the storeroom with Morton, a demented killer determined to blow up the whole city in pursuit of an obscure and twisted ideology. But does Rudi have the vital component, and Elaine the vital knowledge, which will allow Morton to complete his mission?
A rehearsed reading, with scenery, props and special effects, was presented at the Old Fire Station theatre during the Guild Festival on Friday evening, 11 January 2002.
- Advent Day -- think of the Hollywood blockbuster alien-invasion film Independence Day and imagine how that might transfer to the stage. Then add in the fact that my script tells the true story of what would actually happen if Earth was visited by a hi-tech alien starship. Do they attack us? Not at all -- surely they will be friendly and helpful. And it is precisely their attempts to befriend us which throw us and them into deadly conflict.
This script thus updates a story which has been appearing in one form or another since H. G. Wells's The War of the Worlds first appeared in 1898. It touches on questions of the destiny of a technological species such as ourselves, and the relationship of highly evolved civilisations versus more primitive ones.
I should like to thank the Oxford Theatre Guild for making workshop productions of some of these plays possible.
I opjat', kak togda, ja prosnulsja v slezakh! Kakaja slabost', akh, kakaja slabost'! I opjat' te zhe ljudi, i opjat' dal'nij gorod, i bok rojalja, i vystrely, i eshche kakoj-to poverzhennyj na snegu. Rodilis' ehti ljudi v snakh, vyshli iz snov i prochnejshim obrazom obosnovalis' v moej kel'e. Jasno bylo, chto s nimi tak ne razojtis'. No chto zhe delat' s nimi?
(As before, I woke up in tears. What a fool I felt! Again there were those same people, again that distant city, the side of a grand piano, the sound of shots and again someone falling in the snow. Born in a dream, these people were now emerging from their dream and coming firmly to life in my cell-like room. There was obviously no getting away from them. But what was I to do with them?)
Mikhail Bulgakov, Teatral'nyj roman, glava 7 (transl. Michael Glenny as Black Snow, Penguin, p. 51)
Stephen Ashworth, Oxford, UK, sa--at--astronist.demon.co.uk
26 August 2006 / 37rd Apollo Anniversary Year