New family show from National Theatre of Scotland remembers the eccentric scientist who hoped to send post via rockets
- David Pollock
- 30 August 2017
Rocket Post is a story of of ambition, failure, hope and a sense of connection
It's 1934 and a civilian German rocket scientist named Gerhard Zucker is about to show off his fantastic new invention. He's designed a rocket, he says, which will be used to deliver post, and he's going to launch it from the Western Isles of Scarp to Harris. The fact we don't launch letters by missile in the 21s century probably tells us all we need to know about the success of his mission, but it's a great story, which is why the National Theatre of Scotland have adapted it as a children's play.
'Some people think Gerhard was a fraud and trickster scamming people out of money, others think he was a pretty poor scientist but an excellent showman,' says writer and director, Lewis Hetherington. 'Some think he had the makings of a great rocketeer, some think he was a dangerous eccentric. That's partly what appealed to me – trying to find the story amongst the fragments of history, to make sense of how he might have been. Plus the idea of rockets full of letters exploding into the sky feels like such a great metaphor for communication going in the most surprising and unexpected directions.'
In this story of an overambitious inventor and his rockets, Hetherington sees a wealth of relatable themes – of ambition, failure, hope and a sense of connection. 'A big part of the story is about a young girl called Bellag,' he says, 'and how inspired and amazed she is by this newcomer, how he expands her worldview and challenges everything she knows. There's a lot of music and movement, lots of rockets and rabbits – the show is staged in a way that feels like you're part of the action. I like the idea of it feeling like a group of people round a campfire, all sharing a moment before heading off back to our own lives.'
Platform, Glasgow, Tue 19 & Wed 20 Sep, then touring Scotland until the end of October.