ONE WAY TRIP TO MARS–A Rock Opera
by Peter Alexander & Johannah Harkness
© 2017 Hollowbody Electric Productions, LLC
Pablo Cruz: Astronaut, and Cassandra’s love interest
Cassandra (“Wildflower”): Astronaut, and Pablo’s new partner
Gobind Singh: Astronaut, and Noriko’s love interest
Noriko Ishahara: Staff member at mission control
Hector: Head of Space Agency
Male Ensemble 1, 2 & 3: Ground Crew at space agency
Female Ensemble 1 & 2: Ground Crew at space agency
Mars- Apparition, a Dancer in Flamenco red, representing the Planet Mars in Pablo’s imagination
Scottish Piper-Apparition representing Cassandra’s Scottish Heritage
Guitar God – Apparition representing the principle characters’ strongest emotions.
A Sky-Written Love Letter
Pablo Cruz, is a young Spanish astronaut, in peak physical form. During his training he has fallen in love with Cassandra, “aka “Wildflower,” a fiery red headed Scottish woman a few years his senior, who is also in training to be an astronaut. They had both signed up to be considered for a One Way Trip To Mars and have had to compete with hundreds of thousands of other hopeful applicants.
When the day comes to announce the winners of the competition, Pablo Cruz is selected as flight commander, the best in the world. Pablo cannot help but swell with overwhelming excitement and pride. His first mate is a young Indian-American Sikh who will help Pablo on the mission to the red planet where they will set up the infrastructure for a future human colony. A mysterious female apparition costumed in a brilliant red Flamenco dress—a figment of Pablo’s imagination and only visible to him—suddenly appears amidst the celebration at mission control when the the winners are announced. Pablo is clearly mesmerized by the seductive energy of Mars as she beckons him to her. But then he becomes aware that in accepting the mission he must leave behind his earthly love, Cassandra. Cassandra is visibly distressed that she has not been chosen, and she is torn by the prospect that her life partner, Pablo, will go without her. Noriko Ishihara, a Japanese-American feminist and staff scientist at Mission Control, who is in love with Gobind, is consumed with anger about the selections and feels that Cassandra was wrongfully excluded. Cassandra maintains the optimism that their day will come. But she sinks into mourning when she feels that Pablo is not only leaving for Mars, but may also be detaching from her emotionally, forgetting the mystical nature of their relationship. She commiserates with Noriko, sharing memories from a Victorian past when Pablo, in another lifetime, left upon a great ocean while she watched from a Widow’s Walk.
Pablo and Gobind Singh set off on the journey to Mars with a refueling stop on the Moon. But during the refueling Gobind makes a mistake that results in a serious injury that he does not at first admit. In flight again to Mars, with no option to return, Gobind becomes ill and Pablo is unable to save him. Pablo must rise above extreme grief at the loss of his friend and continue with the mission, eventually landing by himself on Mars. Meanwhile, cataclysmic events on Earth cause communication links to go down and the once proud and ambitious Pablo is left utterly alone in the universe to contemplate all that the has lost. As conditions on earth reach a crisis, the head of the space agency, Hector, chooses Cassandra for a second and even more dangerous and critical mission to Mars.
Cassandra must rise above her concerns as an individual woman and set off to Mars without fanfare. She feels the weight of the world while contemplating that her cargo is comprised of a storehouse of genetic material and, as such, represents the hope for the future of all humankind. After many months alone in space, not knowing if she will even find Pablo still alive, Cassandra successfully pilots her space craft to Mars, crash landing near Pablo’s base camp. Pablo ventures out to investigate and finds the wrecked capsule, unaware at first who the astronaut is that he finds there. Pulling her from the wreckage he is overcome with emotion to discover that it is Cassandra, but it is unclear if she will survive.
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The following link is to video clips of One Way Trip to Mars at Waterville Opera House August 27, 2017. Since that time the show has been updated.
Thanks to Joel Congleton, who shot and edited video of the entire show.