Harbourside Function Centre (The Cable Room) 4 Taranaki Street, Wellington

02/03/2021 - 06/03/2021

ONEONESIX - 116 Bank Street, Whangarei

12/10/2022 - 15/10/2022

NZ Fringe Festival 2021

Whangārei Fringe 2022

Production Details

Written and Directed by Luke Thornborough

Lighting Designer: Michael Goodwin
Costume Designer: Courty Kayoss
Sound Designer: Luke Thornborough
Set Design and Construction: Luke Thornborough, Kat Glass, James Wright

Rough Concept by Courtney Bassett
Script Advisors: Kat Glass and Courtney Bassett
Produced by Kat Glass and Briar Collard

Presented by Glow House Ltd and Dusty Room Productions

From Dusty Room Productions comes ALONE: a new award-winning Kiwi play about space exploration, feminism, climate change, and David Bowie. An electrifying and innovative sci-fi thriller with sustainability at its core. Created by a passionate group of Kiwi actors and artists, ALONE is an intense and thrilling ride to the edges of space and human nature.

Aboard a crowd-funded spacecraft called ‘The Lily of the Nile’, a two-woman crew are on the home stretch of a three-year space mission that could provide a solution for an Earth ravaged by climate change.

Pragmatic and passionate Doctor Sarah Taylor believes her work with alien micro-bacterium could make Earth habitable once more. Jessica Holland, a charismatic and quick-witted young pilot, is charged with getting Doctor Taylor’s work and samples home. 

The Wellington season of ALONE is presented with thanks to Creative NZ and NZ Fringe.
WINNER: Best Theatre, Auckland Fringe Festival 2020 
WINNER: PANNZ Tour Ready Production Award 2020  

[Changed from Te Auaha – Tapere Iti Theatre due to Covid 19 Level 2]

Harbourside Function Centre (The Cable Room) 4 Taranaki Street
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th March 2021
Book now at the Fringe

Content Warnings: Flashing lights, sudden loud noises, discussion of death
Recommended for 16+ : Mature content, coarse language, and adult themes. 

Kat Glass:  Dr. Sarah Taylor
Courtney Bassett:  Holland

Stage Manager: Katie Querin
Scientific Advisor: Dr. Steve Wells
Production Assistant: James Wright
Fight Coordinator/PT: Marissa Holder
Voice Over Artist/Mission Control: Steve Austin

Theatre ,

1 hr 30 min

A reminder as to why the patriarchy needs a good smashing

Review by Alice Fairley 13th Oct 2022

Alone is a play of two halves. The first half kicks off with an enthusiastic rendition of David Bowie’s Starman, performed by the pilot of the Lily of the Nile—a woman by the name of Holland (Courtney Bassett)—as she makes herself a snack. There’s something familiar about the banter that ensues when her colleague and superior—Dr Sarah Taylor (Kat Glass)—enters. We watch them wander about the console room, filled with fantastic set pieces that do really give the impression of a grungy spaceship. What follows is the kind of workplace banter you might find anywhere, even, it seems, on a spaceship. However, if you thought this was going to be a lighthearted play about Bowie and two women in space, then you would be wrong, because things are about to get very dramatic.

The second half of the play concerns itself with the kind of nail-biting drama we all expect from a sci-fi setting, but before we get to this point we must sit through several conversations between the two characters as they discuss everything from the band The Smiths to faith and the challenges of being women in their fields. The topic of Sarah’s faith is key, driving her behaviour as the drama ramps up. Holland, by contrast, has no named faith of her own, but it becomes clear when the major crisis unfolds that she is the more steadfast one of the two.

Ultimately this is a bleak play. In a heartfelt moment Holland states that “connection with each other is all we have,” but by the end all connection between the two is severed. Their mission is beset with problems, primarily because of the stated lack of funding and interest in a project spearheaded by a female scientist and her female pilot. Even so, the two fall into the trap of blaming each other rather than working together and caring for each other. It is a sad truth that this is the reality for many women down here on earth too. The play also serves as a warning—if we continue to overlook and undermine the work of anyone other than cisgender men we may be throwing away a chance at saving the world. If you are looking for hope then this play might not be it, but if you are seeking a reminder as to why the patriarchy needs a good smashing then go and see Alone.


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The germ of a powerful play

Review by Andrew Smith 03rd Mar 2021

Opening to the strains of David Bowie, Alone tells the story of two women on a crowd-funded spaceship, The Lily of the Nile, on the final leg of a two-year scientific mission to and from an alien planet.

Dr Sarah Taylor (Kat Glass) is equally passionate about her science and her God, while pilot Jessica Holland (Courtney Bassett) is alternately bored and keen to prove herself to a woman she has admired for years.

The pair have managed to retrieve samples of a bacterium that holds promise of being able to clean Earth’s air and make the planet habitable again. But first the women need to make it home with the samples intact.

Alone is described in the programme notes as a play about space exploration, feminism, climate change and David Bowie. Those elements are all present but, for me, Alone is more a play about the stories we tell ourselves and others, and why we tell them in the first place.   

At one point, Taylor confides in Holland that she thinks of religion as being like an egg – a nurturing, protective environment that keeps her safe and warm, comforting her when she fears she’s alone in the universe. Later in the play, Holland describes the conversations she had with her brother before he died in similar ways. According to her, these sorts of stories – whether told to us via the Bible or constructed out of our own lived experience – are how we make sense of the world around us, and how we connect ourselves with others.

The importance of stories and story-telling is an idea that informs not only the intellectual framework of the play but its structure as well. Much of the action of the first half is taken up with stories exchanged back and forth between Holland and Taylor – of their lives back at home, their careers, their families. These stories help them pass the time and the process of telling them help the characters connect with each other, and for us to connect with them.

It’s an interesting premise for a play in theory but, unfortunately, this work never quite succeeds translating it into exciting theatre. There are simply too many dead patches in Alone, where the action effectively grinds to a halt so that the characters can rehearse a series of set positions on topics like religion or love. Alone wants to be a play about big ideas but often discussion of these ideas comes at the expense of dramatic tension. For long stretches of the play, things simply drift. 

Admittedly, I see Alone under the worst possible conditions with changing Covid alert levels meaning the play has had to be moved the day before opening from a proper theatre to a soulless function room in the city. I would have loved to see this production as it was intended to be seen, with a theatre’s atmosphere and full array of lighting and sound effects, which might have helped things come alive. 

Glass and Bassett do their best under these circumstances. This would be a difficult play to pull off at the best of times, given its heavy reliance on extended monologues and the fact that both performers are on stage for the entire play with only two short exceptions. There are times when the play’s latent emotional charge comes to the surface – particularly during the final twenty minutes as the play moves towards a tragic conclusion. But it takes too long to get to that point and I can’t help feeling the actors would be better served by a tighter script and much faster pacing.

There’s the germ of a powerful play in Alone but more work needs to be done to bring it fully to life.


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