By Julia Buntaine, Editor in Chief
“We're not sure what caused its...its demise. Others have... have gone... because they were extremely sensitive; it's likely this one was just too sensitive to survive all the... you know... all the... It’s so important... more important than ever that you are here...”
PLUTO (no longer a play) by Superhero Clubhouse is the ninth in a series of “planet plays” the theater company has been producing for the past ten years. Since Pluto is technically no longer planet, however, PLUTO (no longer a play) is set in a world where plays are extinct, only to be found in archaeological remains. As with all of the planet plays, PLUTO asks its own impossible question: Is a “doomed species” worth fighting for?
This question is what the three main characters of this play grapple with through humor, optimism, despair, and melancholy. Comprised of a historian, a producer, and an undergraduate theater major, the team discovers the remains of an extinct play about a mythological endangered species, finding bits of a script, some props (including a stuffed animal unicorn), and handwritten notes from the long gone director. Missing numerous scenes, the team pieces together the narrative and performs the play themselves to discern its historical value. Repeatedly rewriting the missing ending, the team makes desperate attempts to resuscitate the play through acting out its final scene, again and again in variation. Should this dead play be given new life? In a world of extinct plays and limited resources, only the best can be saved.
All the while, an anonymous woman bundled in black fabric circles around, tends to the walls, and eats small snacks. She’s familiar, yet alien, and later on we learn she is indeed exactly that; she’s a microbe. In response to the panicked undergraduate the microbe occasionally talks to, who was ranting about extinction rates and the unsure future of humanity, the microbe says memorably, and with a shrug, “Life goes on.”
PLUTO (no longer a play) is as much about the struggles of contemporary theater as it is about species extinction. Periodically breaking the fourth wall and counting out loud the number of minutes left in the real play, the characters remind us that time is running out to save what we hold dear. Expertly weaving together scientific and artistic concerns, PLUTO (no longer a play) implores us to act now, before it’s too late.
PLUTO (no longer a play) is on stage in Brooklyn through June 3rd at The Brick.
Learn more and get your tickets HERE.
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