SAN MARCOS- This fall, Palomar’s Performing Arts Department wants to take audiences on a journey through space, time, and the human mind.
On Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, The Performing Arts Department will debut its first theater production of the season. According to the department’s website, “Greetings from the Red Planet” is a dark comedy that features contemporary topics like climate change and gender fluidity, while exploring broader themes of interconnectedness, facing oneself, and the futility of running from our problems.
The story follows Arin-Ramos-Roman, a non-binary barista who wins a raffle to be one of the first humans to colonize Mars. With nothing to lose and their home planet in jeopardy, Arin embarks on a journey across the stars. What they didn’t realize though, was that aboard the spaceship they’d have nothing to do but reflect on the pain that made them want to leave Earth in the first place.
Director, Michael Mufson, has been a professor in the theater department for the past 27 years. When choosing a play, Mufson prioritizes substance over frills. He wants to give audiences a show that’s as thought-provoking as it is entertaining, with subject matter that’s relevant in the here and now. “Greetings from the Red Planet” had all of those boxes checked.
“I went looking specifically for a play that would center on a gender fluid or non-binary trans character, where their gender identity was not the problem. To kind of normalize this idea in the media, in the world of art, that people who are non-gender conforming are like everyone else… All of the media narratives that are about non-gender conforming people tend to be about them struggling with their gender, and in this case, their gender is just part of who they are. It’s not the problem. The problem is climate change. The problem is the dynamics of human relationships,” explained Mufson on a Zoom call.
Mufson described the show as an immersive experience that will use video projections to accentuate flashbacks and internal monologues.
“Greetings from the Red Planet” is a play for people from all walks of life. It speaks to struggles that we can all relate to, be it collectively or as individuals. However, it does contain adult language and situations that aren’t suitable for children.
20-year-old Lance Holmes, who plays the protagonist Arin, says the role has given him the opportunity to further develop himself on stage. He told the Telescope,
“I would have to say that this show has been the scariest, and the most growth that I’ve seen for myself as an actor. And that’s really because of the writing of these characters and of it being so human.” He continued, “That’s the scary part, actually playing someone who is human, who makes mistakes and who has to confess and deal with this stuff, and who’s watching all of it play out in front of them,” said Holmes over Zoom.
The performance is sure to send audiences home with plenty to think about. Sophia Segerstrom, who plays the protagonist’s sister, Emilia hopes that if nothing else, it will remind people of their connection to each other.
“One of the main themes in this story is that isolation and loss can drive someone into the state of this absence; quite literally the space that the play is about… and I think that seeing that, and being a part of that journey brings us to the idea that we are not alone. We are a part of this world together,” said Segerstrom.
For showtimes and to purchase tickets visit: https://www.palomar.edu/palomarperforms/event/greetings-from-the-red-planet/2022-09-30/
COVID-19 Information: Currently, the theater department’s COVID policy reflects that of the campus at large. Masks, are strongly recommended, but not required, nor will guests need to show proof of vaccination.