Though many of the tales surrounding the Soviet space race are well known, the darker side of the sprint for the stars is explored and exposed in Idle Discourse’s production of Tales from Star City, which boldly goes to the King’s Head Theatre from 31 March to 1 April 2019. Book your tickets now!
Written and directed by Dan Dawes, Tales from Star City takes place in Closed Military Townlet No. 1, the district that was later named Star City. It follows Polina Semyenova, a talented young radio operator who works her way to the very heart of the Soviet space race.
Through Polina, we encounter extraordinary, world-changing events including the launch of Sputnik, the race to put a man into space, and even the training of the space dog Laika, the first living being to orbit the Earth. But we also discover stories of the space race that never made it into the newsreels but have long been suspected by some historians, the darker, human stories behind the propaganda.
The piece originally ran at the Tabard Theatre in 2018, when audience members were fascinated by the revelatory nature of the lesser known stories exposed in the production, describing the show as a “storytelling epic”. The Stage said it was “ambitious… well-acted”, while My Theatre Mates’ Michael Davis, in his five-star review for Breaking the Fourth Wall, said “[Christina] Baston gives a heart-felt performance as the communications prodigy who becomes the conscience of the Soviet space program.”
Baston returns to this King’s Head production of Tales from Star City. Her other London credits include Crime & Punishment (Jack Studio Theatre), Torn Apart (Theatre N16) and Attack of the Giant Leeches (Etcetera Theatre).
Speaking about the production, Dawes, who has been fascinated by the early days of space exploration since childhood, said: “The space race was an incredible time for development, not only scientifically but also philosophically. It wasn’t just about whether the Soviets or the Americans could do something first, it was about the aspiration to reach the stars and how that would reflect on the world as a whole. Those early days of the Soviet Union are fascinating to me, especially the huge dichotomy between the ambition of the space race, and the reality of what life was really like for the people on the ground.”
Theatre company Idle Discourse was founded by Dawes and producer Nina Flitman in 2016. Since launching, they have staged productions of Shakespeare’s Pericles and The Comedy of Errors, 90s comedy The Chainsaw Manicure and Dawes’ plays Steel Tumbleweed and Axolotl.
Tales from Star City plays alongside Daniel Clarkson’s royal comedy The Crown Dual, Tom Wright’s five-star love story Undetectable and Charles Court Opera’s HMS Pinafore as part of the King’s Head Theatre Spring 2019 season.
Tales from Star City runs at the King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper St, London N1 1QN, from 31 March to 1 April 2019, with performances Sunday and Monday at 7pm. Tickets are priced £18. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!