The World Premiere of CASSIE Comes to Mad Cat Theatre
Mad Cat continues its 18th season with a production of a world-premiere play CASSIE by Jessica Farr. After an international space mission goes awry, a lone astronaut and a sentient computer travel on a journey through space and time, navigating through the possibility of never returning home again. Jessica Farr decided to "begin writing a piece about space travel in order to imagine worlds that could be viable alternatives to living on earth."
The piece will star Maha McCain and the performance will feature elements of music, film, and puppetry to tell the story. "The story exists on three planes," Jessica offered, "The expanses of outer space, the inside of the space craft (which we are going to build), and the inside of Cassie's brain." Jessica expressed that in her opinion, "we are experiencing some real epistemic divides right now as a human species. Some are accepting the realities of our changing planet, and others are refusing to see these changes as a threat or even as reality. Sometimes a little distance can add perspective."-
Farr's play CASSIE would mark the first play for Mad Cat's 18th season, the last two plays having taken place during Mad Cat's 17th Season as part of the Knight Arts Challenge winning BANNED/NEW series, featuring Theo Reyna's climate change comedy Firemen Are Rarely Necessary and the Vaclav Havel duet Audience and Protest.
"This season is all about fantasy becoming reality," said Artistic Director Paul Tei, "what happens when disaster has already arrived."-this season at Mad Cat features Farr's CASSIE, two new iterations of the popular Mad Cat Live concert series, and the return of their evening of short form pieces Mixtape, this time named Mixtape 3, featuring a mix of new short pieces and live music. How does CASSIE fit in the season?
Playwright Farr offers, "The play ultimately centers around two tangible human fantasies. Motherhood and forgiveness. On a macro level it is about our dying planet and our place in the universe, but ultimately, the play is told through a human lens, so the humanity that shines through is delivered by a woman in her 40s, alone on a spaceship, bent on never returning to earth. Although not the focus, the personal and the emotional are a big factor of the production."
Farr's play takes place in the future, with the answers to many of our scientific questions about the universe still left unanswered. A spacecraft is designed by a private corporation that sold its prototype to the government in order to plan a manned mission to Mars. In today's world, many would argue that given the lack of government funding for programs like NASA, the future of the space program seems to lie in the wallets and ambitions of CEOs such as Elon Musk, now investing efforts in solving modern day problems that range from the environmentally conscious, such as creating cars that run on a renewable energy source, to shuttles built to make travel to and eventually colonize, Mars.
These concepts are no longer science fiction. One can only imagine what the next 25 years will look like. With the recent arrival of an interstellar asteroid this past week, NASA has found itself in a national spotlight once again. Jessica adds, "This piece shifts the story from man vs. man to man vs. man's own mortality. The space race helped us find a shared identity as a country. We hoped to learn more about our place in the universe and the fate of our planet through our technological advancements. After Nixon, the space program's purpose became significantly downsized to where our current administration finds even less interest in developing the future of breakthroughs by the scientists and engineers at NASA. The next generation could change that, if we find a way to push back and responsibly sustain ourselves on this planet. If we can't... that's another story altogether."
Farr's play CASSIE imagines an all-too conceivable world where the time humans have to answer questions of sustainability on Earth are waning, and the fate of humanity lies in the ingenuity of the rich and the powerful or, the possibility of an appearance from an otherworldly visitor. These themes have been rehashed in science fiction and popular culture for the decades since the beginning of the space program. Legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick in a 1968 interview with Playboy discussing the creation of 2001: A Space Odyssey surmised that "The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death - however mutable man may be able to make them - our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light." We will see how this specific story of space conquest continues the conversation this March 2018 in MTC's SandBox Theater as conceived by the team at Mad Cat.
Tickets available NOW online and 305-751-9550 during MTC Box Office Hours.
Mad Cat Theatre Company, Inc. is proud resident theatre company of Miami Theater Center.