“Space Age Bachelor Pad” began as a script for a one act play. I had seen some ridiculous photographs, featured on the covers of old records, from an era of very early electronic music I later learned was named “Space Age Pop”. The settings and scenarios in these photos were so blatantly, ridiculously nonsensical and obviously in love with the idea of outerspace. I wanted to play with that setting.
I set out to write a play, inspired by these wacky album covers.
At the same time, I’d been interested in the work of the early minimalist composer, Erik Satie. Once, and seemingly just for fun, the composer wrote a play along with interstitial music, entitled “Le piège de Méduse” (“Medusa’s Trap” or “The Ruse of Medusa”). This play is structured in a format that was popular at the time, where the scenes of the play alternate with musical compositions, which are accompanied by dance movements. Satie, a composer, experimented to create this play. As I understand it, the hypothesis of the experiment was that theatrical dialogue, as sound, could be composed, as music, rather than to have the dialogue “written” in the conventional sense. The result is somewhat nonsensical, absurd language. It has the themes, patterns, rising and falling intonations that music has, but it does not exactly have narrative qualities. It’s my opinion that the “nonsense” quality of this play is a side effect of the terms of the experiment, rather than the result. The DaDa artists didn’t see it that way. They felt so liberated by nonsense; they pursued nonsense almost to the exclusion of all else, and this play was part of a body of work that encouraged them to do so.
The setting for my play would be the world where these album covers happen. One name for that style of music was “Space Age Bachelor Pad” which names the setting nicely for me. I’ve also heard it called “Space Age Pop” and “Exotica." That’s just in the music world. In other parts of life the aesthetic has names like “mid century modern” and “shag.”
The script is finished. I’ve got a story about a mad scientist, the guy who lives on his couch, that guy’s girlfriend, oh and a creature from another dimension. It’s lighthearted, nonsensical and intended to be completely over-the-top.
The play I’m inspired by was heavily choreographed, and I don’t want to lose the element of choreography, should it ever get performed.
The soundtrack is already recorded, thanks to my friend Curt Seiss.
I’ve been using my blog and then later Pinterest to gather up a growing collection of visual examples and pictures of things that seem to fit in with the world I imagine for this.
I have collected a small but growing audio playlist of inspirations on Spotify. It contains the far-out sounds of the retro-future that have inspired the whole idea.
Here are some images I’ve collected for inspiration.