Theatre and Radio to consider

In my capacity as blogger for the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters Guild I have to keep an eye on theatre and film news around the globe. A lot of the information I read isn’t relevant to the needs of the Guild’s membership, but sometimes I come across information that may be of interest to those who read this blog.

Here are two examples:

Over on I spotted the news that the one-man play, Zombie, written and performed by Bill Connington, and adapted from a novella by Joyce Carol Oates, will open Off Broadway at Theatre Row on February 21, with previews beginning February 18th. Thomas Caruso is directing the play. The subject matter is grim: it’s about a serial killer and sex offender. Perhaps those of you in New York might be interested.

Today, The Stage announced information about the BBC’s cross-season of new science fiction radio plays.

Alex Jennings will lead the cast of Cry Babies, written by Kim Newman, about a couple who have a newborn baby put into a cryogenic chamber until they are ready to become parents. Natasha Little and Colin Morgan will join Rupert Degas in the drama, with Jennings playing cryogenesis expert Dr Rossiter. It will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday the 9th of March at 2.15pm.

Derek Jacobi will play retired astronomer Douglas Scofield in Mayflies, written by Mike Maddox, and Catherine McCormack plays Scofield’s daughter, Lucy. The production also stars Jason Isaacs, Danny Webb, Steven Cree and Sarah Douglas, and will air in Radio 4’s Afternoon Play slot on Friday, March 13.

Independent company Ladbroke Productions is producing the plays, and Neil Gardner, who is directing both, said science fiction had been “conspicuously missing from radio” for some years, despite being a popular genre in movies and television.

Other productions in the season include adaptations of Iain M Banks’ The State of the Art, and Arthur C Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama.

BBC Radio 4 commissioning editor Jeremy Howe said the success of Doctor Who meant actors are keen to appear in science fiction productions. He also added: “There is a queue of people wanting to be in science fiction, because it’s seen to be sexy.”

I smiled when I read that last line. Is this really the sign of a cultural shift, or a reminder that actors always need work, and enjoy variety in their profession just like anyone else?