This production seeks to give audiences an entertaining view of the historic MA-6 flight of John Glenn on February 20, 1962. It occurred in the middle of the Cold War with the USSR and Iron Curtain bloc.
Glenn was chosen from one of seven pilots known as the 'Mercury Seven'.
For the first time in 21st century, modern theatre, audiences will be transported back to 1962, almost as though they are in a time capsule. They will experience what it must have been like for Glenn's family, the space institutions, press and millions around the world - as they stopped on that day, to tune into the continuous radio and broadcast coverage.
It was a time of risk, courage, political ambition, patriotism and service.
Would Glenn even get into orbit?
And would the Atlas rocket blowup after launch, as it had before?
If he did make it into orbit, could he and his tiny capsule, 'Friendship Seven' be safely recovered, as they splashed down in the North Atlantic Ocean, some 4 hours and 55 minutes after liftoff and 3 orbits of the planet.
A backdrop -space helmet concept
Act 2 Scene 4 -
a set design concept
This show and the script is designed to be highly flexible and scalable.
Schools & Community
For community and school productions, audio and video of the flight can be freely accessed in the public domain, or economically under a licence package. The design makes it easy to set a modest stage, using actor dialogue as the driver, supported by simple (but well timed) audio and lighting cues. This minimalist approach will provide an entertaining and educative experience. Throughout the writing process, consideration was given to the teaching community, given the normal economic constraints of mounting a production that crosses scientific and historical learning. Intellectual care has been taken with detailing the script, for this group in particular.
For commercial productions, it's obvious that latest technology advances in video, audio and staging will benefit this show. This was the first 'transparent' - fully recorded space journey by mankind. We're gifted to have digital copies of the analogue audio, film and photography captured on the day. Smart curation of that media -- integrated into the scenes, adds genuine authenticity to the presentation. It will allow audiences to better understand, the emotional impact John Glenn (and the thousands in support) had on society at the time.
The Audience Experience
Of course, this event has been documented by scholastic institutions; in books, on the net, space museums, NASA and the screen: 'The Right Stuff' (1983) and Disney+/National Geographic (2020). However, the mediumship and traditions of theatre, allows us to transcend what has been covered thus far, into a fresh recreation of the actual 'live flight' onto a modern, hi-tech stage. If executed expertly, this can be an exciting inter-generational ticket purchase. It has the opportunity to touch a wide demographic ie a theatrical experience of a life-time.