Issues of fertility and when to have a baby are constant conversations in millennial America. But most women do not find themselves trying to have a baby by getting impregnated by dark matter, as lead character Astrid does in the Science Fiction Theatre Company’s production of “The Singularity,” by Crystal Jackson.
Vincent Ularich, artistic director of the company, says that’s part of why science fiction works as a genre. “ ‘The Singularity,’ at its core, it’s about a woman who impregnates herself with dark matter, but it’s a story about a woman’s search for self identity, and how that ties into the urge to create life and to become pregnant.” Beyond that, the show hits on the anxiety that women can feel about what exactly they might be pregnant with.
“Science fiction is a really great way to tell these perfect metaphors,” as Ularich points out.
For those unfamiliar with what, exactly, dark matter is, Ularich describes it as “the black space in between stars and all of the celestial bodies. … Dark matter is basically the building blocks of matter that actually started the universe. So dark matter could predate the Big Bang.”
The company began when Ularich and other artists in the theater scene found themselves talking about their love for science fiction, and why they didn’t see the genre onstage. “We saw that as a need in the community, and so we formed the company to address that need,” he says.
As to how to portray science fiction effects onstage, Ularich says that they looked back to old science fiction movies for tips. While modern movies have CGI to make their effects, onstage, it can still be effective to use some of those old tricks of the stage. “If you have a character that’s supposed to be a hologram or something like that, you put a scrim up and it gives you that three dimensional feeling.” That said, Ularich is cagier about what effects you can expect in “The Singularity”: “I don’t want to give too much away. The ending is definitely going to be a big scifi extravaganza.”
The company is one of many fringe theater companies who have had long had a home at the soon-to-close Factory Theatre. “It allowed smaller companies to really start gaining momentum and building up and growing,” Ularich says.
While they’re still still ironing out the details of what comes next with their home base closing, their show, at least, fits in with the theme. “This is a fantastical comedy about the birth of life in all senses, and because this is our last show in the old Factory space, I’ve been saying that we’re going out with a big bang,” jokes Ularich.
Follow Lisa Weidenfeld on Twitter at @LisaWeidenfeld.