Shouldn't there be more science fiction on stage?
Where new dramatic writing is concerned, however, science fiction is far thinner on the ground. A recurring joke in the sitcom Friends concerned Joey's occasional appearances in various awful off-Broadway productions; in one episode (The One With the Screamer), he concludes an emotionally wrought scene by climbing a ladder to a waiting mothership "to search for alternative fuels". Which is a roundabout way of saying that credibility may be more of an issue on stage than in other media. The fear of appearing silly is a real one.
Quite true. It's a very thin line to walk, but one I wish more playwrights would try. As has been well-established, I'm a bit of a sci-fi geek. Well, a lot of one. And I've even tried my hand at some sci-fi playwriting: one of the plays I wrote last year centers around time travel. It's thrilling, really, to use your theatrical imagination that way, to think outside of the box. If I learned anything from my many, many years of watching various flavors of Star Trek, science fiction can be an excellent way to talk about touchy subjects in a smart, subtle way. Or sometimes, maybe not so subtle. (It's got a "b" in it, Gene.)
But on stage...it's problematic, obviously. No special effects. It's hard to do the majestic sweep of galaxies in space in a 99-seat (name drop!) black box theatre. But there is a bit of an upside to the limitations. I've always been a fan of plays that have ghosts in them because of the delicious suspension of disbelief: we know there's a flesh-and-blood person there, but a good play, a good director, and a good actor can convince us otherwise. There's a power in that.
I agree wholeheartedly with Natasha at the Guardian: it's an untapped genre. Why not explore it? Any other genres you want to see on stage?