It's 2167, and high above
the Earth orbits a vast
transport where robot-
specialist Dr. Margaret 
Mailer conducts sessions 
with 71, a member of a
synthetic support crew
once assigned to the deep 
​space vessel Galatea.
​A hundred years ago, the ship disappeared with more than a thousand human passengers on board. Now rescued from a ancient escape shuttle after years of floating in deep cryogenic sleep, 71 engages with Dr. Mailer in a series of therapy sessions and exercises designed to probe her memory and bring her "human" qualities up-to-date.

As she learns what it means to shake hands, make friends, tell jokes and laugh, it becomes clear that 71 is guarding more than a few secrets. Meanwhile, Mailer seeks the answers to a number of questions withvital, world-altering import including what, exactly, happened on the Galatea?


INFORMATION PAGE


"David L. Yen, who makes an appearance in the second half, is convincing as an old-school synthetic who nevertheless is responsible for perhaps the most moving, genuinely human moment of the show."

SONOMA COUNT GAZETTE REVIEW BY JENNY HOLLINGWORTH


"Normally a dynamic actor, Yen here displays a previously unseen aspect of his astounding ability, portraying [the EPS Unit] as deeply as possible while retaining the character’s essential uni-dimensionality."

AISLE SEAT REVIEW BY BARRY WILLIS

a view from the bridge

(fight choreographer)

Montgomery High School

current projects

a note on 2020...


It's a word we'd all like to never hear again, I'm sure: "Unprecedented". The times have been unlike any other we've experienced in our lifetime, and we're still not totally clear of the ripples set in the water by the global pandemic: COVID-19. 
     Here's another word I'm tired of hearing: "Pivot". Businesses, academic environments, essential retailers--indeed, every single aspect of life--had to quickly shift to continue doing what we needed to get done, but in different ways. Practically overnight, a relatively obscure video conferencing app called Zoom became a household word.

     Within weeks of the shutdown, I was contacted by a director I'd worked with in the past. He had the idea to continue doing theatre--but via Zoom. We thought, when we began it, that it would be a hybrid of theatre and camera work. We were correct--in the way the tiny tip of ice showing above the ocean surface is an iceberg.

     After trying to figure out which lighting, camera, and audio equipment to get, we delved into virtual backgrounds that could represent a set. We costumed ourselves, made our own props, became our own directors of photography. We embraced failure--every rehearsal, we strove to "break it": find what didn't work, and try to adapt to what did work in that environment. It was grueling and exhausting--performing live via stream was unlike anything I've ever done before or since, and worked a completely different set of muscles. But it was also incredibly rewarding. I was able to work with people I would not have had the opportunity to otherwise work with because of geography. We came up with clever magic tricks to break down the flattening that environment brought to our performances. We were innovating and improvising How To tell stories in this new form--and it felt like the folks must've felt in the early days of musical theatre, or talking film. We were scoffed at, and our productions were not regarded as "real" theatre. Perhaps they weren't--but while we all operated under the hope that everything would return to normal in a few weeks, we wanted to prepare for the reality that it might not. We were pioneering something special, and we knew it.

     Several weeks after that first production, other theatres began to join in. The next play I was scheduled to perform live took a stab at performing via Zoom: more learning, more trial and error, more innovation. The following production I took part in was as the fight choreographer--we shot the fight as a mini-film, safely, and then the stage manager "shared screen" and played the movie at the appropriate time during the live action. In another show, we put two actors in the same household on the set, and streamed in two other actors at two remote locations, with still photos of the set as their virtual background. I participated in a short festival of plays written to take place in the streaming environment--another first, this time with appropriate material for that world.
     Then, things began to open up, and a show I was already scheduled to perform via Zoom was the first to be performed with actual audience members in the house again after more than a year hiatus. Entertainment writers for local media asked how it was to "return to theatre". I never left. It was different, but it was still telling stories, engaging audiences in different ways, and challenging myself to do more and do it differently. Just like always.
     I am glad we are able to perform with real people in the audience again. But I will never forget the lessons learned, nor will I ever be ashamed of "looking bad" or making mistakes along the way. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to work with such amazing, brave, innovative folks, and feel richer for the experience. 


     Thanks, as always, for your support of live theatre. In whatever shape it comes.


other news

galatea

(eps unit)

Spreckels ​Theatre Company

actor / director / storyteller

DAVID L. YEN

David L. Yen © All rights reserved.

9/3/21- 9/19/21

11/5/21- 11/13/21