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H.G. Wells’ Time Machine Onstage

time_machine2.jpgIt seems that as the stage becomes increasingly marginalized, production companies are compensating with more epically scoped undertakings. Gone are the days of the parlor-room play: The theater now seems intent on convincing playgoers that live shows can go head-to-head with Hollywood by dint of sheer ingenuity. And what could be more ingenious, more epic than a play that takes place over 800,000 years? Yes, Morlocks and all, H.G. Wells’ Time Machine is headed to the stage with a debut tomorrow, Friday January 25 at the Women’s Club of Hollywood and then continuing until March 14, 2008.

The producers admit that the theater tends to avoid doing sci-fi:

While widely acknowledged as an influential literary work, The Time Machine has never before been adapted for the Los Angeles stage because in general theater producers tend to shy away from the sci fi genre. “There’s this hesitation that a stage production could never live up to the visual imagery of a sci fi novel, yet the world of theatre is filled with successful adaptations of fables and fantasies,” notes Bane.

That’s true: The special effects required for science fiction generally present serious problems for real-time endeavors. Which is why this is so ingenious: The Time Machine in H.G. Wells’ novel is a static object while the world ages around it, which allows all of the time traveling to be accomplished by simply changing the sets and costumes. Add some scantly clad Eloi and you’ve got a play I want to see.

The Time Machine Materializes on Stage [SF Signal]

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