Space, Tina Landau's philosophically and technically ambitious play about alien abduction, UFOs and the Human Condition, was launched recently at the Mark Taper Forum-- it's booked through Nov. 14, 1999--but was quickly shot down by the major theatre critics in town.
Landau, whose previous credits include Floyd Collins (book & lyrics) and The Trojan Women: A Love Story (director), both wrote and directed Space and oversaw previous productions in Boston and Chicago. At the Taper she was given a huge production budget to work with, with enough special effects, back-screen projection, sound and lighting tricks, and musical bridges to satisfy a video-games junkie. She also had a top-notch cast at her disposal, headed by Francis Guinan playing an uptight neurologist and Shannon Cochrane as an astronomer who scans the skies for alien radio signals, with Alan Oppenheimer, Karen Fineman (as The Singer), Michael Reisz, Mary Pat Gleason, J. August Richards and Eric D. Steinberg backing them up.
The actors and the creative team were praised by most critics and Landau's direction won kudos as well, but the play itself was badly reviewed on all sides.
At the Mark Taper Forum, 135 N. Grand Ave. For tickets and information call (213) 628-2772, Pay What You Can tickets area available for the Oct. 19 performance--limit of two per person. Public rush $12 tickets can be purchased two hours prior to curtain; certain restrictions apply.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent