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Stand-up comedy meets astrophysics lecture in this fascinating and funny show about how one man’s understanding of the universe was changed by a conversation about aliens.
“We step out of our solar system, into the universe, seeking only peace and friendship…”So says the message from the human race on the Voyager spacecraft. But is there, y'know, anyone out there? Alex went to speak to an astrophysicist to find out. This is what he learned: Stellar Wobble. The Mirror Test. The Drake Equation. Fermi’s Paradox. Capitalist chimps and murderous dolphins.
Credit: Daniel Fletcher
Somewhere between stand-up comedy and an astrophysics lecture, Third Angel’s latest production is a simple show about huge ideas: the story of how a three-hour conversation with an astrophysicist changed the way Alex understands the way the Universe works. 600 Peopleexplores how we think about evolution and intelligence, belief and invention, communication and space travel. The show explores the stories we tell in order to understand our place in the cosmos, asks if there are extra terrestrials in our galaxy, and what it means to be human.
“In 2013 we made a 30 minute spoken word piece 600 People, inspired by a conversation Ihad with astrophysicist Dr Simon Goodwin” said Alexander Kelly, Co-artistic Director of Third Angel.“Simon (99.5%) convinced me that there is no other intelligent alien life in our galaxy. I’ve long been drawn to the idea of the Voyager space craft as messengers from humanity to other life forms, and I was surprised to discover just how disappointed I was by this news.”
In their conversation, Simon had had to explain to Alex a lot about the evolution of intelligence, the development from simple, single celled life to complex, self-aware life forms. He explained to Alex that DNA mapping now tells us that everyone alive today is descended from one of about 600 individuals alive in the Rift Valley in Africa, 150,000 years ago. The performance explores evolution, the development of simple and complex life, how we identify signs of intelligence, the Fermi Paradox, the Drake Equation, faith, inventiveness and Rare-Earth Theory.
This new full-length version of the show includes enhanced projected visuals by Daniel Fletcher, a recent graphics graduate of SheffieldUniversity who the company met via a typography project in his final year, for which students had to respond to a performance of the original version of 600 People.
“a genuinely brilliant theatre company” Yorkshire Post
“...engaging with the big issues about how we live with a fierce intelligence” The Guardian