countdown

Challenge

Get your space suits on, and your metaphors in first gear – and lets get inspired by the vast meaningless emptiness that is our lives… I mean – the vast meaningless emptiness that is the universe!

Response

I wasn’t really sure where I was going with this one. I think in the back of my head I had an “it was earth all along” twist ready to end this one on. Just no beginning or middle. In the end I wanted to make something a bit more different for a “space age” inspired piece and I wanted the senses to go through a journey with this one, so I went along a more Sound Scape-esque approach with this one.

I could have expanded on this more, or made the metaphors painfully obvious in a sort of preachy way (even more so then they most likely are in this piece), but in the end this is something that could be expanded on when I have more time.

(Also note in the original script the font for the Figures is different to that of the Pilot, except for the word “it.” However I cannot differentiate the font in wordpress)

Result

Sound Off

Scene One

Lights flicker on and off

Sparks are flying from the console of a failing Space Ship, sirens can be heard going off in the background, and the PILOT is slumped unconscious over the console.

Heavy static is heard through the intercom as the voices from home try and break through.

Voice:            (Distorted) Can you-            We-                 read-               you circuit-                is- ther-                       -OOMETH-

The Pilot slowly comes to, he is bleeding from his forehead.

Pilot:              Ah….What…

He looks around the ship at the carnage around him. Static comes in through the comlink again.

Voice:            Is-                    Maj-                 an yo-

The Pilot rushes over to the Com-Link.

Pilot:              (Panicked) Hello? Do you read me? Hello? Hello?

He releases his hand off the com-link, but the static is worse.

Hello? Please, can anyone- Hello?

He slams his fist on the panel.

Damn it!

He winces in pain and holds his arm. He then rubs his forehead and realises he is bleeding. He looks around the cockpit.

Come on, I must…

He then finds a first aid kit lying on the floor and rummages through it.

Come on there must be… Shit.

He throws it to the floor. He goes back to the console and tries to wipe away some of the debris.

He then presses the com-link button again.

Please. Is there anyone- Oh! Computer? Computer do you read me?

He slams the console – Whirring sounds.

COMPUTER! Come on, do you read me?

Computer:    Aff….Afff…er…

The Pilot kicks the console.

Affirmative Captain.

Pilot:              Thank God. OK Computer, reroute all auxiliary power to-

Computer:    –System Update failed to download. Make sure you have an active network connection and retry.

Pilot:              No, no-no-no, come on Computer not now, don’t-

Computer:    – System Update failed to install. Try again later. If you continue to have this problem in the future, you can also install (Breaking up) …the new version of Sys-sys-sys-sys-system Update from I- A- F-F-f-Fvgh0-Shift-Cpn- Trol- Alt- erna- Del-

The power fails and Computer disappears. Suddenly the ship LURCHES forward, flinging the Pilot forward. He grabs a hold of the console as the ship PLUMMETS and Sirens blare out.

Pilot:              COMPUTER! COMPUTER ROUTE- ROUTE ALL POWER TO FORWARD SHEILDS! COMPUTER! CAN YOU- COMPUTER!

SLAM!!!

Lights Down

Scene Two

The stage is engulfed in darkness. A hatch is heard opening off stage and the Pilot’s helmet torch pierces through the darkness. He takes a few careful steps across the stage but then his torch begins to flicker.

The pilot taps on the torch, but it immediately flicks off.

(What happens next falls into the hands of the director, it is up to them on how these next sequence of events are portrayed on stage but so long as it an intense sensory overload, which concludes with the Pilot being taken captive as described below)

A tiny spotlight shines centre stage. Hesitant at first, the Pilot takes a step forward and stands next to the light. He takes a breath and then waves his hand through the light. This motion produces birdsong.

Pause

He does it again and holds his hand there for longer, which produces more birdsong – a truly beautiful sound. As the Pilot holds his hand under the light another spotlight appears on the other side of the stage. The Pilot takes his hand away from the light and sound stops. He walks over to the second light and puts his hand under. The sound of a babbling brook is heard.

More tiny spotlights appear on stage.

The Pilot goes around, waving his hand through each of the lights creating more and more sounds. The sounds are peaceful and harmonic. With each new light the sounds increase in volume and the floor becomes more and more illuminated.

At one point the Pilot kicks a stone accidentally into one of the light. He then realises the sound stays playing with an object in the light. He darts around the stage placing stones under lights and creates a soundscape.

As the soundscape increases some of the spotlight starts changing colours and in turn the sounds change. The birdsong stays prominent and the sounds of nature slowly fade into the music of animals, such as Whale Song, but all of them remain peaceful. The mood on stage changes to a moonlit night. The Pilot is now stood in the middle of the stage looking around at the lights and basking in the sounds.

One of the lights slowly begins to produce another sound. A darker sound. A growl. A snarling, and vicious growl.

It fills the Pilot with fear, he removes a stone from one of the lights, but it instead takes away one of the peaceful sounds and only succeeds to make the growling more prominent. The Pilot moves another stone from another light, but it has the same effect. He darts across the stage removing stones, but with each stone removed, the growling and snarling get louder and louder, and louder.

The Pilot tries to cover his ears, but he forgets he has a helmet on. The sound becomes unbearable and the Pilot claws at his helmet. He falls to his knees and knocks one of the stones away into another light.

The snarling and growling sounds instantly stop and slowly the sound of laughter fades in. The Pilot opens his eyes and listens.

The sound of a baby laughing.

He picks up the stones again and places them under lights and this creates more laughter.

As this continues the baby’s laughter fades into the laughter of children, running and playing. The soundscape created is like the Pilot is stood in the middle of a playground.

More spotlights appear on the stage and the Pilot finds more stones to go under them. This creates a much broader soundscape, with the laughter slowly dying under a new sound scape of the industrial world, with planes, trains, cars and other machines.

Unbeknownst to the Pilot, at this stage there is a figure in a kind of hazmat suit stood at the back of the stage watching the Pilot.

A slightly larger spotlight appears centre stage. The Pilot looks around but at this point all of the stones are under a spotlight of their own. He goes to pick one up, but cannot move it. He tries it again with another – same result.

He stands behind the spotlight, standing right in front of the figure in the Hazmat style suit.

He takes a breath and stands under the spotlight

GUNSHOT!

This startles him, as all of a sudden the soundscape turns into one of total carnage, as bullet sounds fly across the stage. He darts out from the centre spotlight, but by now the whole stage is almost completely illuminated by spotlights that he cannot escape the sound. He kicks stones out from the lights, but then end up falling underneath others.

These sounds are then joined by the sound of explosions, carnage, destruction, crying, screaming, shouting, abuse, marching, cheering, applause, it goes on and on and is too much to bear.

More men in Hazmat suits have appeared around the edges of the stage, hidden slightly in shadow.

The Pilot falls to his knees under the central light, he tries to cover his ears but his helmet prevents him from doing so. He manages to prize off his helmet and slams his hands over his ears. As the sounds increase, he feels more pain. It’s too much to bear. He screams, not to hide the noises, but to attempt to distract from the pain.

The figure then hits the Pilot over the head with a metal object, with one final gunshot sound.

Lights down – Silence

Scene Three

The Pilot is strapped on a gurney, propped up vertically so that the audience can see him. He is bleeding again from his forehead. He slowly starts to come to as the lights come up, to reveal he is in some form of lab.

One-by-one, figures in Hazmat suits appear on stage.

Pilot:              Ah… Where-? What the…

He notices the figures. They are paying no attention to the Pilot, they are instead more focused on his suit, his helmet and all of his equipment. Each item of the Pilot’s is treated with extreme caution and care, as if the figures are worried that one false move could cause it to explode.

The sound of violence and chaos can be heard faintly in the background.

Hello? Can you… Hey I- (Pause) Can you hear- can you understand me?

Pause

I said can you under- Oh what’s the use? Obviously they…

He notices down stage a small spotlight has appeared down stage.

(Trying to get their attention) Hey… do you think you could… Hey!

He bangs his head on the gurney. The figures all take a step back, with weapons pointed at the Pilot .

Woah woah – Hey it’s… I was just.

He nods towards the light.

The light, the light. Can you…

One of the figures goes over to the light.

Yes that’s it, that’s the-

It waves its hands under the light and for a second we hear birdsong again.

That’s it! Yes, that’s the one, do it again.

The figures all look at each other.

Figure:           js khldr it?

Figure:           Rmndsghmh nvru ad vsnme vhsg it.

Figure:           It mnnlr cjeedqdmu.

Figure:           K cno;u kjld it.

Figure:           Mds;t gvsu it.

One of the figures smacks the Pilot in the stomach causing him to cough up blood.

Figure:           It akmmcr..

Figure:           It’s xdbl.

Figure:           Its akppe ht chggdsmu.

Figure:           Gjr it bhbjm!

The Pilot is hit again.

The Figures go back to examining his equipment. One of the Pilots restrains has come lose and he manages to get his hand into his pocket. Slowly and carefully he pulls out a stone.

He waits

When all figures are turned away from him, he flicks the stone down the stage towards the light. It rattles across the floor, but doesn’t arouse the figures.

It stops just short of the light. The Pilot hangs his head down and begins to cry.

A restraint creaks under the pressure of the Pilot leaning forward. He leans forward some more, it starts to come loose. He leans forward more and more until eventually

SNAP

He breaks free.

The Figures all turn round to see him lying on the floor.

A second’s pause – they pounce but the Pilot scrambles forward. He grabs the stone and just as the Figures are about to grab him, holds it into the light.

Lights instantly down, except for the spotlight with the stone underneath, playing a calm and cheery birdsong.

 

Advertisements