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Solaris - Courtyard Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CIRA LUNA Theatre Ltd and Rogue Biscuit Productions are presenting Solaris, the first UK staging of Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 cult classic, at the Courtyard Theatre – from November 14 to December 8, 2012.

Aboard a scientific research station orbiting the planet Solaris, the plot follows psychologist Kris Kelvin, sent to the planet to study the ocean covering its surface. On arrival, he is confronted by a painful, hitherto unconscious memory, embodied in the physical likeness of a long-dead former lover.

As other scientists aboard the ship appear to suffer similar torments, questions arise about what the “ocean” really is. Could it be a sophisticated organism capable of incarnating the memories? And can humans truly understand the universe around us without first understanding what lies within?

Evoking the beauty and obscurity that inspired three film adaptations of the novel, most notably by Andrei Tarkovsky and Stephen Soderberg, the performance explores the philosophical story on human behavior and psychology, at the far side of the galaxy.

Adapted for stage and directed by Dimitri Devdariani, Solaris is performed by Charles Church (as Kris Kelvin), Tara Godolphin (Rheya), Jacob Trenerry (Dr Sartorius), John Exell (Dr Snow), Murray Simon (Gibarian) and Louise McConnell (Gibarian’s visitor).

Stanisław Lem is one of Poland’s most renowned writers of science fiction, philosophy and satire, with 27 million copies sold worldwide in translations in over 40 different languages. He made his literary debut as a poet in 1946 but gained international renown in the 1960s with the publication of The Cyberiad, a series of humorous short stories about a mechanical universe inhabited by robots.

His works have proven difficult to translate due to their poetic style, elaborate word formations, and plays on words, and this performance of Solaris follows the first direct Polish-to-English translation of the novel, published in 2011.

Cira Luna Theatre are dedicated to producing thoughtful, informative theatre, seeing Solaris as a perfect story with which to realise this ideal. The company are led by director Dimitri Devdariani, who has staged a wide range of productions in London and Edinburgh since moving to London from T’bilisi, Georgia in 2002.

His theatre credits include A Morning with Guy Burgess, also performed at the Courtyard Theatre in 2011, The S & M Show (Edinburgh) and Anton Pavlovich Is Joking (Theatro Technis).

Solaris has set design by Lucy Barth and lighting and sound by Viktor Palfi.

Solaris is suitable for ages 11+.

Tickets: £16, £14 concessions – available from the box office on 0844 477 1000 or online at www.thecourtyard.org.uk.

Time: Tuesday to Sunday at 7.30pm.

Running Time: 2 hours 20 minutes (including interval).