CREDITS

original music/sound design: Randy Tico
scenic design: Nancy Keystone
lights: Justin Townsend
costumes: Erin Julie Tavin/Jeff Cone
video design: Austin Switser/Jeff Teeter
production stage manager: Winnie Lok

INTRODUCTION

A trilogy told through a collage of text, image, movement, music and projections, APOLLO is an epic narrative of America, exploring the U.S. space program, it's relationship with Nazi rocket scientists, and the surprising intersection with the Civil Rights Movement. It ranges from the U.S. Civil War, to Nazi Germany, to the American South of the 1960s, to the reaches of Outer Space, focusing on America's century of progress, and the legacy of slavery, examining the moral cost of human aspiration.

PART 1: LEBENSRAUM
Part 1 explores the relationship of the Nazi rocket scientists and the U.S. space program; the contrast between the "innocence" of America's post-war love affair with technology and space flight, and the development of that rocket technology in Nazi Germany's slave labor camps during WWII. Part 1 is a bright gold fantasia of rocket history, escaping Earth's gravity with dazzling velocity, to reach all the way to the moon with the breath of collective aspiration.

PART 2: GRAVITY
The shiny, happy surface of Part 1 is pulled away in Part 2 to expose the underbelly of that history. Arthur Rudolph, a one-time top NASA Project Manager for the Apollo rocket program, is tainted decades later by revelations of his Nazi past as production manager of Hitler's V-2 rocket. While investigating the war crimes of this old man, a young U.S. Justice Department prosecutor discovers the post-war crimes of his own government in its fevered ambition to become a world power. 3000 file boxes on stage contain dark secrets, memories and desires as individuals excavate the past and discover the contradictory impulses contained in each soul.

PART 3: LIBERATION
The Nazi Rocketeers are sent to work on the Apollo program in Huntsville, Alabama during the 1960s, in the midst of the civil rights struggle. Exactly 100 years after the conflagrations of the Civil War and the long struggle of African-Americans for freedom, Huntsville is the epicenter of two pathologically divergent impulses in the nation: the maniacal will to achieve the impossible goal of landing men on the moon, and the savage resistance to the equally impossible goal of integrating a lunch counter. Played on a vast field of cotton, this story is the fulcrum of two heretofore separate histories of America—the space race and the Civil Rights struggle--as they collide on the stage, to reveal larger meanings about our intentions as a nation, and shine new light on its perilous and exalted coming-of-age.

The events portrayed in APOLLO represent America's uneasy relationship to its own historical progress and ascension as a world power, the contradictory impulses concerning our stated heroic ends, and our less than moral means of achieving them. How do we act responsibly as we live in thrall to our insatiable striving and ambition?

PROJECT HISTORY

Apollo [Part 1]: Lebensraum and [Part 2]: Gravity were developed through A.S.K. Theatre Projects and the Mark Taper Forum's First Step/Next Step program, with major support from Flintridge Foundation. The pieces were performed several times as a work-in-progress between 2002-2005, and premiered together at Center Theatre Group's Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2005 (under the title Apollo [Part 1]: Lebensraum). The play and production won Backstage West's "Garland" Awards for Playwriting, Sound Design, and Lighting Design, and" Critics' Picks" for Best Production, Directing, Ensemble, Scenic Design, and Video Design.  It was "Pick of the Week," from the L.A. Weekly  and cited as one of the "Top Ten Plays of 2005," by LA Alternative Press.

Apollo [Part 3]: Liberation began development in 2003 at Portland Center Stage through a grant from TCG/Pew Charitable Trusts' National Theatre Artists Residency Program, and a commission from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It premiered at PCS in 2009 when the entire trilogy was produced together for the first time. www.pcs.org