Pioneer space mission brings hi-tech thriller to Watford Palace


Houston we have a problem.

Pioneer is a new, state-of-the-art drama about a mission to Mars that has set its course for Watford Palace Theatre later this month.

It is a joint production from curious directive, the company that brought The Kindness of Strangers to this year’s Imagine Watford; Watford Palace Theatre and Norwich Festival.

Pioneer is a poignant sci-fi thriller imagining the first human mission to Mars.

Set in the near future, an Indian flight director prepares to lead an international team on a mission across the solar system, watched by two billion people, while a young Dutch astronaut on Mars comes to realise that something terrible has happened to her partner.

Using a combination of live video, sound mixing and scenography, Pioneer shuttles audiences through an oceanic submersible, a habitation module, mission control and back to the Garden of Eden.

curious directive is collaborating with a psychologist, specialising in human space flight, an astro-biologist and an astrophysicist to create Pioneer.

The group was inspired by the overwhelming scientific scepticism surrounding the real-life first human mission to Mars (Mars One), which is planned to land in 2025.

Mars One has invited applicants from non-scientific backgrounds to apply to a one-way mission to Mars.

Pioneer is a response to this mission, celebrating the meteoric rise in interest surrounding inter-planetary space travel while imagining what would happen if our first quest to the red planet were to fail.

Director Jack Lowe said: “We were drawn to the philosophical, personal and epic dramatic potential of calling another planet our home.

“In Pioneer we draw together different people implicated in a mission to Mars – from the flight director, who architects the project, to two nomadic brothers in the middle of the Siberian wilderness.

“We weave these perspectives into a central story about the nature of sacrifice.

“Our piece celebrates traditional tropes of science fiction novels and film while enjoying the ‘liveness’ of being in a theatre.

“Ultimately we are offering a thriller which celebrates some of our most ancient instincts; our brave, reckless and uncharted desire to sacrifice everything in order to push our own frontiers and the wider achievements of humankind.”

Pioneer plays at WPT on August 29 and 30.

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