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“The Aurora Project: An Interstellar Story of Devotion”

While browsing the New Play Map at Howlround, I noticed that there was an upcoming event in the Boston area. The piece, entitled “The Aurora Project,” is presented by the Science Fiction Theatre Company from today through October 5. As it is described on artsboston.org,

“The Aurora Project follows Constantine—an ‘intelligent design’, indistinguishable from human beings, and Nora, a genetically enhanced female explorer, as they begin their voyage across the uncharted universe. When Nora decides to go against Constantine’s wishes and visit a strange new planet, she’s quickly infected with an incurable illness. In order to delay losing his only friend to grisly death, Constantine decides to subject them both to the phenomenon of cryo-freeze. Thus, the pair begins a kind of chemical induced time warp, spanning millions of years as they wait for the universe to get smarter, and a cure to Nora’s illness to be found.”

Scenes from an earlier production of "The Aurora  Project."

Scenes from an earlier production of “The Aurora Project.”

As a fan of Science Fiction films, the idea of featuring this very complicated genre in theatrical productions immediately piqued my interest. I had no idea that theatre companies specializing in these types of stories existed, let alone were in residency walking distance from my house. Through their website, I learned that the Science Fiction Theatre Company is using this production (their sixth) to kick off their third season as “New England’s only exclusively science fiction company.”

(Courtesy of Science Fiction Theatre Company)

(Courtesy of Science Fiction Theatre Company)

What makes this piece of theatre even more intriguing and exciting for me, besides the subject matter, is that the author, Bella Poynton, is a Boston University alumnus of the BFA Acting program currently seeking her MFA in playwriting from the Iowa Playwright’s Workshop. As someone who (fingers crossed) is going to graduate in a matter of months with the same degree, it is wonderful to see an alum of this school creating new and challenging theatre right here in Boston. When, in an interview with Theater in the Now, Bella was asked what kind of theatre speaks to her, she responded, “Anything new and fresh. Old stories told in new ways are always a treat. Take risks. Be bold. I like plays that scream this message out loud.”

Playwright Bella Poynton (Photo courtesy of Theater in the Now)

Playwright Bella Poynton
(Photo courtesy of Theater in the Now)

At a time when graduation crawls closer with each passing day, and I become more and more excited (and anxious) at the prospect of becoming a theatre artist in the world, reading these words really hit home for me. While Science Fiction theatre may not be the most popular genre in the world, Ms. Poynton is clearly writing material within her artistic aesthetic which she cares deeply about. This should serve as a model not only for people in BU’s theatre program, but for young artists across the globe who seek to make a difference in the world with their art. I look forward not only to this production, but to whatever projects lay on the horizon for both Ms. Poynton and The Science Fiction Theatre Company.

The Aurora Project runs through October 5 at the Factory Theatre on Tremont Street.

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