Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

March Books 13) Observatory, by Daragh Carville

Jon: You can't be in two places at once.
Nicola: I'm not. I'm in one place twice.
The ancient Observatory at Armagh has always been a place of mystery and wonder to me - I worked there for a couple of months during my gap year in 1985/86, and showed visitors Halley's Comet through the telescope erected a hundred years earlier by J.L.E. Dreyer to round off his New General Catalogue (which gives galaxies their NGC numbers). Later, the observatory's official historian supervised my M Phil and was the external examiner of my Ph D. It's an important part of forming my personal approach to knowledge; and I knew it best just at the time of my life when I was getting deeply into science fiction.

So when I discovered that the Abbey Theatre had performed a play about the observatory's history, written by Daragh Carville (who also wrote Regenerations, a play about Doctor Who set in Belfast) I knew I had to get it. It is a four-handed play, two characters being very loosely based on the Observatory's first director and his assistant in 1799, the other two being a 1999 astronomer and her occasional lover, a historian. It's a fairly simple plot - time-travel romance and revolutionary betrayal - but offers some space for reflection on history and place. I would encourage theatrical folks with sfnal and/or Irish sympathies to give this short piece a try; it could work quite well. (Though I winced a bit at a scene where a transit of Mercury is observed at night.)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Tags: bookblog 2013, theatre, world: northern ireland
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