The Pluto Shot

What do science and theatre have in common? On the surface not a whole lot, but when The Pluto Shot begins its run at the Black Hole Theatre next week, audiences will see the two collide.

Set in Berkeley in the early 1960s, The Pluto Shot follows two scientists who have been hired to work on creating a new bomb. Tides change when they make a big discovery and begin to work on something else – which results in making them glow as if they are radioactive.

This is recognized as a sign by a budding group of cultists who seek to find their source of illumination.

“It’s a complex piece on paper, but when you put it on stage, it’s incredibly funny and intricate,” says Kevin Ramberran, a performer at the Black Hole Theatre Company.

He should know – he’s one of the leads of the play.

“I think that the show manages to strike a fantastic balance between sexual hilarity, snappy wit, and heartfelt emotion. I’m excited to see which characters the audience achieves catharsis with and how that affects their experience of the show,” says Ramberran.

While the show is primarily about politics in science and takes place in the 1960s, Ramberran argues that it’s still highly relatable.

“It’s easy to look at the 1960s and think that as human beings we’ve changed so much. Something I think The Pluto Shot brings out is that although society has changed a lot, humans have always been a little crazy.”

The play runs from March 12 until 16 and again from March 19 until 23. It is the world premiere of The Pluto Shot, which was written by Dr. Robert Smith, an instructor in the faculty of arts at the University of Manitoba.

The script is a product of a theatre department project aptly titled, the New Play Development Project. The project aims to provide students with a comprehensive look at how plays are created and give students a chance to try their hands at the many roles in bringing a play to life.

The Pluto Shot is the product of collaboration between Smith and fellow New Play Development Project instructors Bill Kerr and Chris Johnson. Ramberran says the process has brought life to the upcoming production.

“We’re trying to put more focus on the development of new work in the Black Hole Theatre Company. We still love doing established plays, and will continue to produce those as well, but we feel there is a great deal to be learned from working on an entirely new work,” says Ramberran.

The world premiere of a play is a unique opportunity for an audience to see something truly distinct and reform the way the play is delivered in the future.

“The things the audience reacts to, laughs at, and finds intriguing are going to be things that Robert, Chris, and the cast pick up on. Audience members will find themselves part of the creative process, whether they like it or not.”

Aside from the new work, audiences should come down to appreciate what talent is on offer for every show. Ramberran thinks the Black Hole Theatre Company is underrated and urges would-be audience members to get in the seats.

“There are many reasons to support the Black Hole: the young talent, the fantastic productions, the local artistry and such. The main reason though, is the artistic inspiration that having an audience provides. The audience is going to have a great experience and that experience will only become more exciting as our audience grows.”