In a joint production between the Lost & Found Theatre and UW Arts Department of Drama and Speech Communication, Douglas Adams’ famous Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series was brought to life through a reading of the first three episodes of the radio series. Covering the span of Arthur Dent’s rescue from the destruction of Earth by his (alien) friend Ford Prefect to his meeting of Slartibartfast on the ancient planet of Magrathea, the show was a fantastic experience for fans both new and old.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction series created by British author Douglas Adams. Originally broadcast as a radio series in the late 70s, Hitchhiker’s eventually spawned into a number of different media, most notably the “trilogy” of five books, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish; and Mostly Harmless. There is also a sixth book, And Another Thing …, written by Eoin Colfer of Artemis Fowl fame, but it was written after Adams’ death in 2001 and many (author of this piece included) do not consider it part of the series.
Nevertheless, back to the show. Having never attended a radio play before, the simplicity was stunning — six stools with microphones and a sound board in the back. That’s it. No elaborate set, no fanciful costumes, just six actors, one actress, and their scripts.
It is quite the experience going to a show and not having to rely on one’s eyesight at all. Derek McGill, a fourth-year drama student who played no fewer than six (!) roles in the production, concurred.
“It’s weird because you’re thinking that the audience is going to be looking at what you’re doing on stage, thinking ‘they’re not actually acting it out, it’s weird to look at these actors in their regular clothes,’” he said. “I guess it’s just up to the audience to decide how to listen to it; whether they watch or just close their eyes and listen to it as if they were listening to the radio.”
Alan Sapp, the director and narrator of the production, highlighted the professionalism of all the performers.
“We only had two rehearsals,” he said. “Everyone was ready to work, and we were all on the same page.”
With the success of the performance, will we be seeing (or hearing) the rest of the series soon? “Hopefully,” McGill opined. “I can’t wait to see if they do it again.”