By Holli Harms
It is a walk through the abstract ideas of time and space. It is Stephen Hawking telling us about black holes. It is the pairing down of life to moments and piercing truths. It is wondering about the future of this planet and its inhabitants. It is a multidisciplinary cloud ride to the stars and back. It is Utopian Hotline, created by Theater Mitu in collaboration with SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, Arizona State University’s Interplanetary Initiative, and Brooklyn Independent Middle School.
At the entrance, you take your shoes off and walk on wall-to-wall pink carpet. Every square inch of the floor is covered in it. In the center, long thin tables sit just inches off the ground. On the tables are microphones, video cameras, vintage push-button cord phones, tape recorders, and above the tables a horizontal screen. There are four guides on this journey you’re about to take down a considered passage of sounds, stories, music, and images. You will be asked to think of a clock as an entry into both the future and the past. What is the present and how quickly does it disappear into the past?
The golden records that Carl Sagan (astrophysicist ) and Ann Druyan (writer) helped create in 1977 that were placed on the Voyager spacecraft are the inspiration for Utopian Hotline.
In the 70’s NASA was sending out spacecraft to explore our galaxy and beyond. On one of them, they put two Golden Records that Sagan and Druyan created. The recordings on those were of greetings voiced in different languages, sounds of our planet, images, and music, a way to show whoever may discover them a little of who we are.
But our hopes and dreams and aspirations were left out. About two years ago the MITU’s Utopian Hotline was created for anyone to call and leave their hopes, dreams, aspirations for mankind’s future. That is how the evening begins with some of those messages and thoughts on the future: “Find a way to share our serenity.” “Yesterday’s magic is today’s reality.” “…need to be more about community and not so much individualism.” “… for children all over not to suffer.” “Focus on the present, listen to each other.”
Knowing that I would be seated on pillows on the floor, I dressed for comfort. I curled up on my pillow and sat in awe and wonder at the story of us and our lives on this planet spinning in outer space. It was a spiritual experience and I know I was not the only one to feel that way.
Theater MITU is what conceptual collaborative creative theater is all about.
Utopian Hotline was conceived and developed by Theater Mitu, directed by Rubén Polendo
With: Kayla Asbell, Isis Bruno, Dima Mikhayel Matta, Monica Sanborn
The performance schedule is Tuesdays–Friday at 7pm and 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm, 4pm, 7pm, and 8pm; and Sundays at 3pm, 4pm, and 7pm. Tickets, prices at $25 ($20 student / $50 supporter), are available online at https://theatermitu.org/.
All performers and staff of Theater Mitu are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as should you be when you attend.
Utopian Hotline in performance at Theater Mitu MITU580 (580 Sackett Street, Brooklyn),
for a limited run through September 26, 2021. Tickets are now on sale HERE. Limited seating to only 12 persons.
Running time: 45 Minutes.
COVID Safety Protocols: You will need Proof of vaccination – vaccination card, or photo of vaccination card, and a valid ID. Masks for vaccinated patrons with proof of inoculation will be optional. Masks for unvaccinated patrons will be required, as well as proof of a negative COVID test (PRC only, within 24hrs). Audience members are encouraged to practice social distancing while inside MITU580.