Billed as a “rom-com set at warp speed” in their press release Hot Cousins performed their debut production “Don’t talk to Strangers” at the Vaults in February 2020. Based on the 1977 project “The Voyager Golden Record” by Carl Sagan at NASA where he wanted to summarize all of humanity by recordings on a record. Sending it out to the universes beyond ours to contact alien lifeforms.
The cast of four Ally Poole, Elana Binysh, Madeleine Lewis and Stephanie Fuller bring together the monotony of television interviews which take place after someone enters the public eye. In this case the love story between Carl Sagan and Anne Dryan. We enter during the honeymoon period which descends into a darker reality as the public becomes bored and dig around for the nastier side of human nature.
Taking an event from the historical archives and bringing it to life for another generation through Theatre form is often a real tribute to the people originally involved. I had certainly never heard of him before now and will be taken some time to read more about him in the future.
Hot Cousins claim that they draw on the “surreal and trashy” for their ideas. They are definitely elements of both within this production yet they manage to add to a touch of humour and class at the same time. You just have to watch out for where it is.
The alien dressed in a baby pink all in one with a crash helmet as pictured above tries to make contact with the humans. The group of three are so absorbed in themselves they fail to see it. It’s very often the case that humans fail to see what is right in front of them. It was hardly surprising that it was only as the alien became more human in appearance that the group began to pay attention to its presence on the stage.
The golden record is actually now 13.8 billion miles away in space and should it ever be discovered nobody who was originally involved with it will still be alive. With my greater understanding of Sagan’s personality after reading more about him, I think he too would have really enjoyed this entertaining production about this part of his life too.
Photo credits Hugo Bainbridge