by Marilyn Anne Campbell
Stage play: Sci-fi comedy, one-act, 2W/2M/1 either
When low-level staff at an interstellar supply station find themselves on the frontlines of alien contact, workplace dissatisfaction could lead to an inter-species incident.
"The creative geniuses within (Otherworld Theatre Company) provide opportunities for masterworks like playwright Marilyn Anne Campbell’s “Universal Language”... to be enjoyed by Chicagoans of all dispositions. Campbell’s humorous romp refreshes audiences with the optimistic truth that people (and aliens) will respond well to kindness... fantastic."
Premiered in Chicago, Illinois in August 2015
Available for future productions
Members of the New Play Exchange may download a full reading copy
Behind the Scenes
Universal Language was written the first time I participated in a 24-Hour Playwriting Contest. It was for the 2009 Toronto Fringe Festival, and participants were given four things that had to be included in the final script: a pas-de-deux, a border dispute, third base, and the phrase “the economy is the secret police of your desires”.
I didn't win the contest - I didn't even place - but I did have fun participating. Still, I thought I'd made a mistake writing a one-act sci-fi comedy, as it seemed like a stretch that anyone would ever be interested in producing it. I left it in the virtual drawer of my hard drive, gathering virtual dust.
Luckily for me the Otherworld Theatre company formed in Chicago three summers later, and three summers after that organized a new play festival looking for short science fiction for the stage. Which means the first 24 Hour Playwriting Contest I ever participated in would, six years later, lead to my first US production.
Universal Language premiered in August 2015 at Otherworld Theatre's first Paragon: A Sci-Fi and Fantasy Play Festival in Chicago Illinois. Taking place at the The Public House Theatre, Paragon presented 40 short plays in 2 days. (Performance date: August 23rd)
Directed by Lauren Fields
Literary Manager / Festival Programmer: Elliott Sowards
Chloe Baldwin as Zapanta
D. Matthew Beyer as Montis
William Delforge as Stanton
Maureen Mizener as the Regional Manager
Claire Allegra Taylor as the Assistant / Alien