Imagine 2037: The Telescope

Australian playwright Brooke Robinson imagines a future of flying cars and extra-terrestrial visitors

Your flying car is in for its annual service and so you walk there. First socks then trainers, not your Hover Flex or Levitator Zooms, but your old gym shoes, obsolete, soles emaciated, hard stone against your feet as you weave through the Old Town, around the barricades and diggers, empty shops and abandoned houses, all the way to Arthur’s Seat.

On a temporary stage, a clock counts down: Thirty three minutes.

The MC says:
What did the astronaut think of the restaurant on the moon? He said the food was nice but there was no atmosphere.
His audience is children, lads, grandmothers, picnics, a cheeky dram in a hunting flask.

Twenty minutes. A wrecking ball moves into view over the old town. A cheer. Fifteen minutes.

MC on the mic: Have you heard the one about the spaceship that came to Earth?
Never mind it’s over your head! He points upward. You flinch. Everyone does. Made you look!

You will be safe from them.

Four minutes. The boy next to you has a plastic model of the telescope bought from one of the souvenir shops on Princes Street.
The distraction of forced laughter drowns out the trembling of the earth...
A year to build.
Radio signals monitored.
Movements tracked.
The old town transformed into a giant eye to prevent the other from alighting.

Brooke’s story

I am a playwright from Sydney, Australia, who has been based in London since 2015. Australia has a very small arts industry and I moved to the UK to be closer to its theatre scene.

I'm at the beginning of a long journey trying to qualify to remain in the UK long-term. I'm all too aware of my privilege coming from a wealthy country which often treats would-be migrants badly.

Before moving to the UK, I had two full length plays produced in Sydney and Melbourne, Dangerous Lenses and Animal/People.

Since moving to the UK, I’ve had works-in-progress shown at Theatre 503 and the Traverse Theatre.
In 2017 I was shortlisted for the Griffin Award, Australia's most prestigious prize for unproduced plays. My latest play is produced by Sydney's Red Line Theatre Company.

#Imagine2037 celebrates the 20th anniversary of the British Council's Edinburgh Showcase by inviting artists who are migrants, from all over the world, to imagine the future with us.

We've asked eight artists to write about a performance that takes place in 20 years' time on Arthur's Seat, a hilltop overlooking Edinburgh. Watch out for all the imaginary performances in the series – we're releasing one a day from 19–26 August.

Imagine 2037 is curated by Andy Field, Alma Salem, Cathy Gomez and Matt Beavers.

Follow the Imagine 2037 series:

> Droneful: Farah Salah invites us to a participatory performance with drones
> Red Chaddors Anida Yoeu Ali takes us to a hilltop in Edinburgh in 20 years' time
> New Water Town: JR Carpenter imagines an underwater city
> Six Actions for Transitioning: Maru Rojas suggests six actions for transitioning to a degrowth world



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