If you have ever wondered if you had the “right stuff” to make it as a member of Mission Control, now is your opportunity to find out. The Tacoma Dome is hosting “Apollo 13: Mission Control” an interactive play for 15 performances between December 21st and December 30th.
I can hardly contain my excitement for these shows. They have been getting rave reviews and it sounds like it’s a theater experience like no other.
There are two types of tickets to purchase. First are approximately 100 Console seats where you are seated at a working version of a Mission Control Center console. See the photos above or the trailer link below for some pictures of the set. You are given a title and responsibilities. The consoles have working phones so you can dial up anyone at any of the other consoles. There will be incoming information that you are to relay to certain cast members. Warning lights and alarms could go off at any time on your station, alerting everyone to a potential problem. You are free to interact with other audience members and the actors.
The other tickets are for the Press Gallery where they have a birds eye view of the action in Mission Control and can hear the astronauts through headphones.
There are actors playing Gene Kranz, the Flight Director, Walter Cronkite, who reports on the unfolding drama that is broadcast on one screen on the stage, and the three astronauts Lovell, Swigert, and Haise. Taking a little creative license, one member of the Console audience is selected to play a fourth astronaut. They put on a space suit and sit in the capsule with the other astronauts as the action unfolds. Apparently, this lucky audience astronaut gets to deliver the infamous line “Houston, we have a problem.”
The show is designed to play out the drama of the accident that crippled the Apollo 13 mission and how the team back at Mission Control saved the day by “MacGyvering” some solutions that brought the astronauts safely back to Earth. Their goal is to create a realistic experience where the audience feels some of the emotions that the real Mission Control must have felt: excitement, fear, anticipation, and finally, triumph.
The show’s creators point out that the purpose is not to make anyone feel put on the spot or embarrassed so those in the Console seats are free to get as involved as they want. If they wish to hang back a little and watch the events unfold, that’s OK. The goal is to have fun and create the experience you want to have. Because of the audience participation, the show is always a little different each time but the actors are skilled at moving the story along.
This experience is great for adults and children age 10 and up.
Here is a trailer for the show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0f20G-NDDg