All this is put to great effect by Landau, who, as director, so ably instilled a sense of wonder into her production of Jose Rivera‘s Cloud Tectonics several years ago at La Jolla Playhouse. Here, the complex, mesmerizing dialogue between the light and sound cues (respectively, by Scott Zielinski, and Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen) is quite an achievement, often playing off familiar film imagery, as when a ring of white lights hovers above Saunders’ bed, suggesting UFO “landing lights.”
The cast can be said to fall somewhere between the writing and the lighting. Cochran exudes a cool, self-deflating irony as Cannon (think Joan Didion with an astrophysics degree), but Guinan‘s over-the-top performance as Saunders often comes close to going off the Richter scale and, in fact, did come too near to falling off the stage on press night. The ensemble is adequate to its tasks, with Richards providing the needed jolts of electricity whenever his angry, frustrated character, Taj Mahal, appears in Saunders’ office.
The last month has seen a harmonic convergence of plays about alien abductions, real or imagined, on local stages; besides Space, there‘s been Neena Beber’s Common Vision, Dean Haglund‘s Paranoia Will Destroy Ya and Michael Farkash’s Stolen Time. Perhaps it‘s a millennial malaise, or simple nostalgia for science-fiction promises, that has prompted this. Or maybe, as Space suggests, it comes from a desire to tell our most fugitive thoughts, whether the audience wants to hear them or not.