The HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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Not so lost in space, Myles Breen with towel and Pius McGrath Artwork: Ken Coleman

LEGEND, legend, legend. Douglas Adams achieved godly status to fans of sci-fi and otherwordly experiences with his radio play series and then book, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. Other hundreds of thousands have seen the 2005 movie that starred Morgan Freeman.

What is described by the multi-award winning Belltable:Connect unit as a “unique tribute” to the American writer is a rehearsed reading of the original radio shows called ‘Don’t Panic! Towel Day’. This will take place on Saturday May 25 at the O’Connell Street venue, Belltable. The start time is a prompt 7.42pm, a significant hour to this concept that will unfold in 30 minute sections over the next three hours.

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“Douglas Adams’ original was comprised of half hour shows played weekly,” explains sound engineer to this mission, Phil Shanahan. “We have a half hour interval, long enough for the audience to get out, have ‘refreshments’, talk about them and share interests.”

Phil is one of four crew with Belltable:Connect’s producer Marketa Dowling. He was a fiend for Adams’ work throughout his young youth, then an LIT degree in Film & Audio Technology. His final year project in Audio Production leaned on science fiction radio drama so this Limerick-made homage is catnip to him.

“As sound engineer I come up with the soundscape and the background – a lot of stereophonics were created for the radio plays. My main background is in film and post production, working with foley artists who go into the sound room with stuff to create special effects and sound effects, such as buckets of sand to sound like walking on gravel, for example.”

The intergalactic world will be acted out by a top flight (ho!) cast with Myles Breen, Elaine O’Dwyer, Pius McGrath, Georgina Miller and Mícheál ‘Moley’ Ó Súilleabháin performing, with Moley’s incredible singing voice to be stretched to alien limits. Tara Doolan directs the fantasia.

The atmospheric chills and tension, skits and giggles integral to good radio entertainment ensure that “we have a load of pre-recorded clips when creating background.” Douglas Adams’  other legacy is his careful scoring of scripts with notes: “He had very specific music in mind such as an alien trumpet that sounds like an elephant roar.”

For those not in the know, the ‘Don’t Panic! Towel Day’ reminder to bring a towel to this gig is because “any man [or woman] who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man [or woman] to be reckoned with.”

Booking on venue manager www.limetreetheatre.ie