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It's rare to see Science Fiction on stage, rather than in the pages of a book or on the silver screen.

By Tamara Howie

But screen writer and now playwright Philip Tarl Denson is bringing the genre to Brown’s Mart in a one-woman show, Singularity.

Set in the emptiness of deep space the play follows Commander Alene Shaw (Ella Watson-Russell) who is shaken out of cryogenic sleep with no memory. 

She finds herself trapped in the damaged ship with only the eccentric artificial intelligence for assistance; she must unravel clues about herself, her past, her mission, and her concept of reality before she crashes into a black hole.

“Science fiction is a genre often underrepresented in theatre, especially in Darwin, as both audience and artists alike tend to see it as a spectacle driven, visual genre,” says Denson.  

“However, science fiction is never really about science or the future, it’s about us – humans and our relationship with technology.”

Denson, who has several film credits under his belt, says writing for theatre allowed him to use different techniques that are not often found in film. 

“(Singularity) is quite theatrical in the sense that ideas are talked about – whereas in film, the characters go about trying to achieve a goal. With theatre you’re allowed to explore ideas a bit more,” he says.

Despite the original intent for the stage, the story has been optioned by Intrepid Pictures in the US and is being prepped for production.

“I’m excited,” Denson says.

“I’ve had to adapt it as a screen play and I’ve added more action and things for the protagonist to do so it will work as a film.”

The debut theatre production is directed by local Tania Leiman to ensure a female voice is present through the whole production – not just from the character. 

“I originally wanted to direct but we decided with a female lead to the story, it would benefit from having a strong female voice,” Denson says.

Tue 16 Oct (preview) – Sat 27 Oct | 7pm | Happy Yess Room at Brown’s Mart | $35 | $25 Conc | $15 Preview | See the event listing.

Thumbnail: Ella Watson-Russell

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