Single mom Sara (Emily Sutton Smith) is a powerful, passionate, brilliant scientific mind guiding the Mars rover program. Emily traverses a full spectrum of emotions torn between her daughter and her space mission. Daughter Lis (Christine Eliot) struggles with a learning disability, still, in her way, brilliant and capable, but “not like mom.” These two characters are well played and real, with all sorts of conflicting trajectories, telemetries, missions, communication gaps… manifest destinies? The analogies between the Mars rover program and the mother-daughter relationship are fascinating.
Sincere Ejiro plays Victoria, daughter Lis’s friend, and a link to her inscrutable disappearance. Michael Lopetrone is a bundle of charm and enthusiasm as mom’s colleague, fan and more. Lukas Jacob is internet mystery man (or IS he?) Edgar 2330, bringing a captivating, in-the-moment attitude that challenges Lis’s state of mind.
An outstanding feature of this show is the continuous series of projections (Alison Dobbins) which turn the simple, versatile set into NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, visions of Mars, and various other locations. (The projected kitchen tile matches my 1970’s kitchen, and I love how the refrigerator is not only very real, but also just another panel/backdrop for projections.)
Out of Orbit continues through June 17 at Williamston Theatre.