What A Trip! from Realities (Day 15)

The past two weeks have been a good warmup, and I’ve sampled pretty much every one of my shows by now. The future may bring a few arcana and one-offs, but we’ve hit all the big titles: Deadbeat, Assassins, Better and Better, BGDF, A Is For Anything, Goosefeathers, Watch The Birdie, A Tiny Miracle, Realities, Gemini the Musical and Leading Lady. (Use the tags at the bottom of each post to navigate to a specific title.) Prizes for anyone who can claim to have seen more than three on this list of eleven titles!

I thought it might be fun to settle down and present a series of posts from the same show in an attempt to create a little continuity, perhaps even some narrative thrust. We’ll see how it goes, shall we?

Realities photoHere’s Realities, recorded at the Arts Bank in 1996. The book is by Steve Hochman, based on an original story we cooked up together about a man who designs virtual realities as a way of coping with his problems in… well, how shall I put it? ACTUAL reality? I was very seduced by the idea that technology could be used to generate a perfect world that could function as a kind of alternative to our very imperfect actuality, using virtual reality (VR goggles and gloves, a very 90’s touch) as the portal through which we can visit.

The play opens in a funky warehouse tricked out with a ton of computer gear, sort of like the setting for some William Gibson novel. Lots of glowing monitors, thick skeins of cables everywhere. It’s dark at first, then we hear the voices of a man and a woman as they let themselves in and grope for a light switch. The woman is Cybil, the punked-out assistant to Alex Inman, our main character; think Lisbeth Salander, geeky and sexy. The man she’s lured back to the studio is Karney, an older dude in a suit, and she’s brought him there to show experience Alex’s VR creations. Karney is hoping that things will get a little freaky, but he’s not prepared to handle this particular trip. Imagine that the second half of this is accompanied by stunning computer-generated graphics projected over the entire stage, conveying the experience that Karney is having inside his VR gear. Jennifer Avila is the voice of Cybil, and Jeff Murphy (previously featured on Day 3) plays Karney. Matt Cloran, who plays Alex, makes a brief appearance on this track, but you’ll hear lots more of him in the next few days.

KANREY
She picked me up this evening at a nightclub
And asked me if i’d like to have some fun,
Then this crazy chick with purple hair
Invited me to God-knows-where.
The girl was hot to trot,
And so I said, “Why not?”

She says she’s got a business proposition.
I hope it’s “monkey business” that she means!
If I read her right, this little minx
Has got to know all kinds of kinks
I can guarantee
This is gonna be a trip!

[Cybil puts a VR helmet on Karney and connect wires into the helmet and glove.]

CYBIL
A pixel-powered passport to Nirvana,
A window into worlds you’ve only dreamed.
Once I plug you in and you’re online,
You’ll go from mortal to divine.
You looking for a thrill?
Then this will fill the bill!

I need a man who has a taste for hardware
Who’s not afraid to take a chance…

KARNEY
that’s me!

CYBIL
This computer gear has been designed
To rock your world and blow your mind!
Can I turn you on?
Baby, trust me, it’s a trip!

What a trip!
Flip a switch and your world comes alive.
What a trip!
Soon your brain will be buzzin’ like bees in a hive.
A new world to explore
Like none you’ve ever seen before…
What a trip!

[She throws a switch. Music and lighting changes. On the monitors, swirling patterns suggest what KARNEY is seeing as he enters virtual reality.]

KARNEY
The strangest feeling…
What happened to the ceiling?
Can’t find my feet,
Can’t find the floor anymore…

KARNEY and CYBIL
I’m (you’re) floating, flying
And I’m (you’re) not even trying
Gliding through space in a place
I’ve (you’ve) never seen before.
What a trip!

[Music builds. Projections light the stage in a way that conveys KARNEY’s experience.]

CYBIL
What did I tell you? Alex Inman is the man!
At virtual reality, he’s a master,
An architect of dreamworlds without peer,
He’s a visionary pioneer
Who’s looking for a financier.
His gear has got the flash,
Now all we need’s the cash!

I think you need another demonstration
Of what you’re gonna feel when we connect,
‘Cuz the code he writes
Will curl your hair.
There’s no one like him anywhere.
Alex is the reason
This is gonna be a trip!

[Lights up to reveal ALEX INMAN in another part of the studio. He sits at a computer workstation and we see him indistinctly, perhaps just his head and shoulders. He has been watching the action over a security monitor.]

ALEX
(admiringly to himself about Cybil)
“Miles Down The Mountain”? Cybil, Danger is thy middle name.

[Music shifts to a different tone, fast, dangerous. On the screens, we see what Karney sees – a simulation of a car speeding down a twisting mountain road. Karney’s initial reaction is excitement…]

KARNEY
All right! Let’s drive!

[…but as the ride progresses, he finds it harder and harder to “steer” and begins to veer out of control. Music and imagery builds to a climax. Panicked, Karney tears off the helmet and throws it down. He stands panting and tries to recover his composure.]

Next up –> “The Man Is A Riddle”

If you missed them, these are the songs already posted on Project 194. Use the tags below to search for specific shows. Want to receive daily songs delivered direct to your inbox? Sign up here!

One thought on “What A Trip! from Realities (Day 15)

  1. Pingback: Change The World, from Realities (Day 17) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

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