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How we put the space race on stage

The Inconstant Moon
Val Brunetto, Liam Lawe and Zach Sanders take the stage in “The Inconstant Moon,” Marcy Rodenborn’s update of the Romeo and Juliet story for the commercial space race. Lawe portrayed Elon Musk (shown here persuading Brunetto’s character to fly to Mars) as well as Jeff Bezos. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

I’m the last person in the world to set up my own space startup, but I have a better idea of what might be involved after a week’s worth of whirlwind playwriting for Infinity Box Theatre’s “Centrifuge 2” theater festival.

“Centrifuge 2” was the second running of an exercise adapted from the 14/48 Projects, in which playwrights, directors, actors and other theater people create batches of 14 plays in the course of 48 hours.

My fellow Centrifugers and I had twice that long to come up with 10-minute science-themed plays, plus five-minute introductions by science writers such as myself. But there was no time to waste: The scramble continued all the way up to the first technical run-through on Friday afternoon, followed just a couple of hours later by the premiere.

It all started last Monday night, when I was matched up with playwright Marcy Rodenborn, based on a slip of paper drawn from a jar. I had been kicking around a few ideas, and we quickly settled on a retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin filling in for the warring families.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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