By Thomas Wendt
In my short time here at Murdoch, I have participated in a few different forms of theatre; an educational piece, a comedic piece, and a science fiction piece. By far the most difficult of them was the science fiction piece; it was a right pain to organise. So it makes me very happy whenever a sci-fi theatre piece is done well, and @lantis does sci-fi very well.
Written and directed by Stephen B. Platt, @lantis is the story of an underwater city of the same name, populated by scientists who are experts in their fields. Security Officer Dorothy (Nicola Brescianini) is sent to work in the strange and wonderful Ponderlust Laboratories, run by Professor Jules (Murray Jackson) and Doctor Mary (Tegan Mulvany), with the help of Technical Officer Harry (Max Rankin) and Lug (Nic Doig), a living experiment. Each episode is accompanied by live foley by Andrew David and Cassie Power, with lighting by Zenna Newman-Santos, and sound and AV by Ella Ewart.
@lantis is a radio play in seven parts, with a new episode each week. Each episode has its own supporting cast and theme. Episode 1, titled Fish Out of Water, was accompanied by Kate Willoughby, Rhys Hyatt, James Jury, Ella Ewart, and Ron Arthurs, and was in the style of the classic ‘monster of the week’. In this episode, Doctor Mary creates a new form of life, combining a Siamese Fighting Fish and an engineer. But what would happen if it escaped?
Episode 2, titled Data Protection, introduced IRIS, the A.I. daughter of Professor Jules (Xarna Rappold), and was accompanied by Jacob Wehr-Murphy, Susanna Gray, Chris Buckle, Kate Willoughby, and Ellin Sears. It was very much in the style of the ‘rogue artificial intelligence’. In this episode, Dorothy meets IRIS, a sassy teenaged Artificial Intelligence created by Professor Jules to help them in Ponderlust Laboratories. IRIS might be a super computer, but when she gets distracted by a boy, she develops some bad habits.
This form of serialized theatre is very difficult to pull off and needs clever characters and creative storylines to keep an audience hooked for episode after episode. Luckily, @lantis pulls this off in the best possible way. It has engaging characters that pull you into fantastic and clever writing to keep you engaged with the story. I particularly liked the portrayal of the Bursar by Rhys Hyatt in Episode one, it takes a lot for a fictional character to make me actually mad, and he played it wonderfully. Episode two contained one of my favourite lines ever, “Just because I’m omni-present, doesn’t mean I omni-care”. I am excited to see how this show progresses and see the characters develop in the future.
If you would like to find out more information, listen to past episodes, or get tickets to future episodes, visit atlantisradioplay.com