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The Blue Ball
(Photos courtesy of Corbis)

The Blue Ball is an imaginative investigation of the experience of Space researched by the playwright among the astronauts themselves. This ambitious play questions the politics of a culture in which the wondrous is rendered mundane and what seems commonplace is rendered absurd.

The Blue Ball was commissioned by the Royal National Theatre and received its premiere at the Cottesloe Theatre in 1995.

Source: Methuen


The Blue Ball by Paul Godfrey

("Being in space, I'd say it wasmore incredible than you could imagine."

For two years in the early nineties, Paul Godfrey used a small travel grant from the National Theatre to visit the NASA space program in Florida and Star City near Moscow and interview the astronauts and cosmonauts. The result was the play The Blue Ball premiered in the Cottesloe in early Spring 1995.

The Blue Ball is a play that demolishes metaphor. It takes you into a theatre and says - you must imagine. The play's sparse writing style and absence of stage direction seems to demand a production style with very limited décor: a blank canvas on which isolated figures are drawn. In setting himself the challenge of representing Space, Godfrey placed the bar very high. What can a writer do faced with the infinite unknown. With typical lightness he then leaps the bar. The Blue Ball - he represents Space with space.

The Blue Ball opened barely two months after Blasted, and it closed almost immediately, pulled from the schedules after a bombardment of uncomprehending reviews. The wave of writing which followed swept away an intriguing moment in British theatre when new writing was represented by Paul Godfrey, and Gregory Motton, and early Martin Crimp. It's so easy to forget these days that playwriting ever looked like this. The Blue Ball is a masterpiece; a diamond - hard, simple, full of light. Revive it!

Source: Encore Theatre Magazine
Date: 6th June 2003