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Con-Con’s ‘Last Ship To Proxima Centauri’ is truly ‘out there’

First off, Convergence-Continuum has truly stretched the limits of their stage set constuction with Greg Lam’s “Last Ship To Proxima Centauri” but in a good way. Two huge screens dominate the area along with Star Trek style work stations arranged throughout. It is unfortunate that certain values of the work are lacking in some respects. It is not a bad production, it just has some flaws.

While the story line is intriguing it cannot make up for the problem of the repetition of dialogue, a dour history lesson, a rather far fetched premise and the use of spoken Chinese and Spanish with on screen translations that slows the action. Described as a dark sci-fi comedy it leans more on the dark than the fantasy and yucks. It also does not help that the cast is troubled with getting their dialogues straight as they stumbled throughout portions of the show.

It is 2,000 years into the future and the spaceship Arclight 27 is approaching their final destination, Proxima Centauri, a planet able to supply a new future for refuges from a dying earth. Arclight 27 is the last ship of an armada of thousands to leave earth and is carrying 100,000 pilgrims (white folks from Seattle, Washington) kept alive and comfortable in suspended sleep. Of the thousands of ships launched, it is only the seventh one to reach its destination. Along the way, the original crew died somewhere around Neptune and an automated system awoke Pilot Morris Emerson (David L. Munnell) and Captain Addie Russell (Amiee Collier) from their slumbers to man the ship. That was twenty five years ago and although Addie is gay it appears that she and Emerson have formed a relationship of sorts.

Circuling the planet following their 160 year long journey, they finally make contact with ground control whose first question is concerning the ethnic make-up of their payload. It seems that only six ships made it through to land hundreds of years ago and through cooperation and a totalitarian system of beaurocracy the population has managed to not only survive but thrive. The six ships that made it are from non-European countries on earth that have had a history of racism, imperialism, slavery, hostile take-overs and abuse from Europe, Britain and the United States.

Proxima Centauri has formed a Communist Chinese form of government by committee as well as being the primary language. Mexico has contributed some language as well as food traditions. Nigeria brought laughter and a calm way of looking at life. Brazil contribued its music and carnaval. India brought architecture, spiritualism and science to the population. Lastly, Turkey brought their skill of mixing the different cultures to obtain common goals.

The crew of Arclight 27 decides to awaken Henry Hirano (Simon Rogers) to help negotiate with ground control. Henry is a Japanese American who took his father’s place on board and is basically a stowaway with no negotiating skills to speak of. When the crew refuses to maintain orbit, they are attacked and forced into a crash landing after which they are boarded by Tunde (Nnamdi Okpala) a student of ancient earth history and Paz (Amanda Rowe-Van Allen) a tough as nails enforcer.

Taking into consideration the elaborate set which is held together literally with duct tape due to the tough journey through space and time (a nice touch), the huge screens that are active and the various work stations at first glance you have a winner. The problem with flubbed lines is an easy fix as well as picking up the pace where it drags. Each actor does a good job in bringing the escence of their character to life. There is a solid lesson that would be more effective if not repeated. Of note is David L. Munnell as the mantic Morris and his counterpart Addie Russell as Amiee whose concern for those on board is well portrayed. Simon Rogers as the stuck in the middle Henry does a fine turn as the frustrated innocent who is forced to condone for the sins of his ancestors generations back. Nnamdi Okpala as Tunde and Control 1 brings humor and warmth to the show and Amanda Rowe-Van Allen plays the high strung Paz and Control 2 to the extreme.

Costume designer Scott Zolkowski outfits the actors in believable garb. Robert Wachala brings a sparkle to the lighting demands. Eva Nel Brettrager’s sound design makes the action more believable and of course Scott Zolkowski’s set is remarkable. Special mention to the CSU Confucius Institute for their help in teaching Mandarin to the cast.

It’s a far off flight of fancy that with a little tightening up could be a really great show. As it stands it is still worth the price of a ticket for its telling of the immigration issue that we are currently going through world wide. Check out this show.

Convergence-Contiuum’s “Last Ship To Proxima Centauri” will be on stage in the Liminis Theatre located at 2438 Scranton Road, Cleveland, Ohio in historic Tremont through June 15, 2024. For more information and to purchase tickets go to or call (216) 687-0074.


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Who is Mark Horning?

Over the course of my life I have worked a variety of jobs including newspapers, retail camera sales and photography. Eight years ago I embarked on yet another career as writer. This included articles concerning sports and cultural events in Cleveland, Ohio as well reviews of the many theatrical productions around town. These days are spent photographing professional dance groups, theater companies and various galas and festivals as well as attending various stage performances and posting reviews about them.  

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