Bringing theatre into the space age
Corps Diplomatique, Project Arts Centre
Published 03/10/2015 | 02:30
Arnaud Boulogne is not very bright. An RTE journalist (nice local touch from this French ensemble), he has the story on 'Corps Diplomatique', five astronauts about to travel to space.
Their mission is to make theatre on a space station for the rest of their lives, and artificially reproduce themselves so that after they die the show will go on.
No sooner has he interviewed this obviously deranged corps than he decides to join them. It's a one-way trip. But like many a soul-searching journalist, Boulogne has a novel to write. In space, they will all be "freed from those silly normative shackles". They'll make art without distractions. Away they boldly go.
Science fiction is almost never tried in a theatre and this play's humming, flashing-fluorescent stagecraft came close to exciting. A 1960s-themed white spacecraft is cut through with a wiry control room, a window looks on to the spinning planets. But we know it won't end well.
Arnaud Boulogne (played by Arnaud Boulogne) recognises his folly, quite some time after the audience has appreciated it.
Their food is rancid soybean and locusts. Alcohol is forbidden (though being very French, Albane Aubry revolts and grows a vine). Creatively choked and bickering, they abandon their play.
Via catastrophe, cloning, mutiny and more, Corps Diplomatique's arty utopia becomes its sickly opposite.
Creator Halory Goerger came up with this cool, cerebral "thought experiment". But the idea of going to space to produce art into infinity is not a great premise in the first place. A joke gone too far.
It is a pity because Goerger's script crackled with excellent humour even through sur-titled French. And the slick cast, sharing names with their characters, did coax the odd moment of helpless humanity out of the void.