And Then, one of the shows in this year's Fringe Festival, follows travelers through space while they stomp their feet and belt songs, eyes closed, bent over a banjo. There is trumpet and harmonica and talk of moving through the Andromeda Galaxy.
The pairing of Sci-Fi and folk is, perhaps surprisingly, completely natural. The show asks big questions like: Do human beings ever stop exploring? And when we've seen nearly every inch of within our boundaries, are we naturally compelled to go further? But it addresses these unknowable, existential moments with the unique companionship of folk music.
The show ends with a chorus of M.Ward's "Chinese Translation." The song neatly summarizes an integral thought behind And Then: Human beings are prone to adventure — and then their retelling. It's an interesting thought as NASA prepares to take us deeper into space and a few months after scientists confirmed the existence of gravitational waves.
But no matter how far a pioneer roams, thoughts of community tend to wander back; Astronauts can see New York City from space.
We asked two of the show's driving forces, producer Leanne Velednitsky and creator Will Davis, a few questions:
TLD: How long has this project been in the works? What was the collaboration process like?
AT: The show has been brewing since August 2015 as a single idea. Through its addition of each cast mate and each new challenge the show has grown so far beyond what Will had imagined as a solo mind.
The show really couldn’t be done without the efforts of each member of this team. Cast and production team, it’s a testament to people who are passionate about making theatre and telling stories. If you come see the show, you’ll see friends getting together despite all odds putting on a piece of theatre they love.
TLD: Did NYC influence the show at all? How so?
AT: We all met here and made it here. Super influential. NYC helps you realize that the whole world is going to blow up, so you might as well start thinking outward.
TLD: Why M. Ward? Does "Chinese Translation" have any significance?
AT: M. Ward is a perfect example of someone who uses very simple music to make a very profound message. Chinese Translation specifically mirrors our show’s cyclical nature and asking questions that you never truly find the answers to.
TLD: What should people expect from the show? What do you hope they take away?
AT: People should expect to have a good time and spend an hour with a smile on their face, gaining bits of childish hope.