The Sci-Fi Sampler is Everything a Nerd Wants at the 2022 Victoria Fringe Festival

28 Aug
The Sci-Fi Sampler

SPOILER ALERT

The Sci-Fi Sampler is a very loving tribute to the genre by Outpost 31. It’s playing at the Victoria Fringe Festival, and it is a collection of stories inspired by cinema, fiction, and television! The set design is minimal, and to help audiences see what’s going on, the backgrounds are projected onto a huge movie theatre sized screen. The video production that goes with the first story is very snazzy and more often than not, I kept on being reminded of Frank Miller’s splashy Sin City design.

In act one, “The Back with Two Beasts” (written by David Elendune), we meet Blair, the host to a virtual reality video game which Emma and Dave play in to solve their marital problems. The software helps them out, but when we get a huge self-aware in-joke (regarding the name of the game) referring to what to expect, I had to chuckle as these tales are intermixed with their story.

These narratives look at existentialism in clones and robots. In another work, we are watching what some alien race is planning. The last two narratives hint at a thread linking all these narratives together. Although they were written independently, the writer in me senses a greater scheme which unites everything in The Sci-Fi Sampler.

To be specific, Nicholas Guerreiro’s “Mooncalf” looks at the relationship between mother and daughter. Caleigh isn’t ready to let her little girl go. Dolly’s graduation is very soon, and when she tells mom she’s ready to join the next mission to the moon, what’s revealed are uncomfortable truths.

Emily Case’s “Curiousity” concerns a certain rover who just arrived at Mars. This playwright is also the performer; she informs audiences she’s on a mission to Gale Crater. The fact she develops cognitive function encourages us to experience her journey by way of other bleeps and boops. Instead, she’s alive with the sound of wonder and joy, sadness and fears, and also anxieties. To reach her objective sounds tough, but by the end, you just have to love this droid, like how Star Wars fans adore R2D2 and BB8.

To round out the last two tales, Ian Case’s “Hog Wild” is a love letter to The Outer Limits with maybe a bit of Planet of the Apes mixed in. What we learn from Zorbog and Norlax is that there’s a hunt about to take place! We’re left guessing if they are the hunter or the hunted.

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His other solo play introduces “The Lost Cosmonaut,” which explores the Space Race from a Russian point of view. The early attempts to place a man into space were fraught with danger. When a rocket engine blows or the calculations to place a soldier in low earth orbit go wrong, those pilots are forever lost in space, doomed to die in one way or another.

The Vostok programme competed with Project Mercury, and what we get here is a sombre tale of courage and nationalism. I don’t think Case is playing Yuri Gagarin. He was grounded after successfully achieving low earth orbit back in 1961. Instead, what we learn is that he was replaced by someone else. What we hear is this unknown pilot’s fears. 

As a result, I’m amazed The Sci-Fi Sampler includes soft elements of horror, and I’m glad it deals with other aspects of the genre that defines speculative fiction. More Easter eggs exist, and I’m more than eager to watch the production again. Even though the rehearsal script exists, it’s not as engaging, especially when how it’s organised is different from how its presented on stage. This is available on Intrepid Theatre’s website for a limited time. It’s password protected, and the code is easy to find. My advice is to simply see the show. You’ll love the effort put behind making the masks of those pig-like aliens and I won’t elaborate any further!

Cast

  • Lili Martin
  • Matthew McLaren
  • Jordan England
  • Emily Case
  • Ian Case
  • Michelle Chowns

Remaining The Sci-Fi Sampler Showtimes (Tickets are sold in advance)

  • Aug 28 3:30 pm
  • Aug 31 5:00 pm
  • Sep 04 8:00 pm
  • LOCATION: The Metro (1141 Quadra)

About Outpost 31

Outpost 31 is a multiple award winning Victoria based theatre company that specialies in prodcuing high concept intelligent entertainments. Previous shows include: Goodnight Uncle Joe, Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, Winnie The Pooh & Tales Of 100 acre Wood, Leer, Sherlock Holmes & The Curse of Moriarty.

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