Five plays specially commissioned for the start of the 21st century that imagined what life might be like 100 years or so later.

ALPHA – The first of five plays specially commissioned for the start of the 21st century that imagines what life might be like in 100 years or so from now. What If…A computer challenges the existence of God? Mike Walker’s Play envisages the existence of a computer so powerful and so all-knowing, that it my be said to have an independent life of its own – despite the fact that it is a man-made creation. Such existence asks fundamental questions of thje world’s great religions; for those that believe in a Supreme Creator, the apparent existence of a computer with an independent life is an abomination. They send a representative, Father Marquez to interrogate the computer – Alpha – and to decide whether of not it can be allowed to exist. During their converstations, Marquez finds out far more than he expects about both alpha and much more disturblingly – himself.

THE UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE – What If…You knew your lifespan? The Uncertainty Principle is set in 2099; a world where everyone knows his lifespan. People live at the appropriate pace; short-lifers are frenetic; short-attention-span, beer-swilling hedonists; long-lifers are more laid back: advocates of lifelong learning, retraining for different jobs each decade, and making long term investments. When a short-lifer overstays his welcome by not dying at the right time, why does it have to be kept secret?

THE ETERNAL BUBBLE – This play set in India, envisages a world that has been split in two. At the end of the 21st Century, most people live in scientifically controlled environments called Bubbles where death has been ‘eradicated’. Bodies are kept alive in special dormitories that keep hearts beating long after consciousness has gone. Some people choose to live in the ‘Second World’, the world outside the Bubbles, where there is real sea, sky and sun but also disease and death. Dr. Madhu Kapoor is an eminent Bubble scientist whose work is dedicated to prolonging life at any cost, including that of her son Kiren, kept alive in a dormitory after a childhood accident. When Dr. Kapoor’s ex-husband, Professor Choudhury, lures her to the Second World hinting that he can prove that there is life after death, she embarks on a journey that will have profound implications for life in the ‘Eternal Bubble’.
Directed by Roslyn Ward
Play of the Week
World Service 60min
[OTX 20000123]

SIBLING RIVALRY – A dark futuristic drama set in a polluted, totalitarian country in the year 2095. As a measure of population control, couples are allowed only one child. Marion and Gil are expecting their second, and now they can’t agree on what to do about it. A second pregnancy can become a time of terror rather than joy, because the government has teams of enforcers who will kidnap and dispose of the extra children. Families must take desperate measures — they can emigrate to a depopulated Africa, or they can eke out an existence in marginal areas. Or they can hide…