September 8 – October 7, 2007 ~ Opening Night: September 15, 2007

              a world premiere theatre event

       created and directed by BILL PULLMAN
          in association with the Chabot Space & Science Center

  This imaginative docudrama explores the personal and political life-and-      death crisis of two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut                   stranded in space after the Columbia Shuttle disaster.  Pullman uses a company of eight actors, movement, live music, and low-flying trapezes in this stylized new work based on writings by astronauts, NASA reports, and other primary source materials.

  "Our Space History" Exhibition: Space flown items from the world-famous collection of The W Foundation will be on display Sep 14-16 an hour before and after curtain.
  Director's Note
  June 2004
       by Bill Pullman

Working on this piece, I've had to remember things I'd forgotten or could only half envision. And some discoveries we have made on this project seem to have a parallel with what we are discovering about our country. We've been dealing with individual efforts, collaboration and listening to all the perspectives as we commit to action.

With this project, I'd forgotten how interesting actors are when they have a huge job in front of them. Pushing through a dense stream of paradoxes, contradictions, and facts, they are forced to simiplify their focus. I remembered how much stronger is an effort if it is made by a team of collaborators. Jennifer who extended the invitation to come to Denver, and Bob who showed us the mysteries of the gravity-reducing trapeze and Gary who wanted to weave a very specific cloth of sound unique to "Six."

I was reminded that institutions can be useful sponsors of purposeful action, and not a cover for conspiring and controlling individuals. My thanks to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and New York Stage and Film.
I only had half heard the voices coming out of the incidents of space exploration and geo-political conflict. This project allows us to remember the purification that comes from swimming through the passion of words that pour out of all parites involved.

The words that are spoken are real--drawn from astronauts such as Rick Husband, John Glenn, Judy Resnik; journalists such as William Langewiesche, Thomas Friedman; websites such as The Council on Foreign Relations, Wikipedia, AP Space News; religiously driven individuals such as Osama Bin Laden, the Reverend Doctor Cky J. Carrigan; and the translation of the Koran and Cicero.
  Bill Pullman - Artistic Statement  "Expedition 6"
     July 2006 Theatre Project- Baltimore

I was essentially speechless for most of 2003. I was shocked occasionally, numb on other occasions, at times had body aches, and then developed a ceaseless appetite for sucking up data from every perspective. Outwardly, I functioned. I "talked", but I was always speaking fragments of things I heard and was trying to digest. I needed the theater.

We've used "found texts" taken from the news (i.e. AP Space News, NY Times), Internet (i.e. Osama Bin Laden's Speech to the American People, NASA Space Logs), books (i.e. The Koran, Bernard Lewis' "What Went Wrong") and video (i.e. NASA products like "The Space Shuttle Story", etc.)

Expedition 6 was born in Denver. My friend, Jennifer McCray Rincon, is the Co-Chair of Acting for the National Theater Conservatory, a three-year MFA actor training program that is a branch of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. They happen to have trapeze as part of their physical training.

The actors are now professionals living in New York City. We all came together a few weeks ago at the Kennedy Center to be in residence for a playwrights' intensive workshop sponsored by the ACTF. Then we came to the Baltimore Theatre Project to do more work and plan for the future with some key supporters. Thanks to all the folks who made this happen. Thanks to you for coming tonight. Hope you stay for the talk back.

                          --Bill Pullman
Review   "Expedition 6"   July 2006
Theatre Project Baltimore

by Mary Cochrane-McIvor

With a bare stage, eight actors, no costumes, and minimal, but very imaginative props, "Expedition 6" tells an epic story. It has stark grandeur, edginess, and a soul. Using 'found' texts from the news, internet, books, and video, the story of Expedition 6 of the International Space Station, the loss of the Colombia space shuttle in January 2003, and the rescue of two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut from the ISS in 2003 is played out. In this open rehearsal, we see only Acts 1 and 2.

In the background, the audience encounters an unrelenting look at the realities, challenges, and beauty of scientific exploration; the NASA culture of maintaining a positive outlook no matter what and staying 'on task'; the media barrage of information, facts, and ideas that we are assaulted with daily; and the horrific historic events of the Colombia space shuttle crash and the Iraq war.

Eight phenomenal actors: John Behlmann, Karl Hanover, Jillian LaVinka, Eileen Little, Robert Karma Robinson, Brent Rose, Amber Violes and Justin Walvoord relay their way deftly through various roles. They are in turn: astronauts, news reporters, NASA officials, wives of astronauts, the man in the street, NASA ground crew, and religious leaders.

The huge open space of the theater is constantly reshaped by the actors--and Bill Pullman's sharply focused direction--to create moments that illuminate, marvel in wonder, and question. The use of low-flying trapezes broadens the use of space and suggests the freedom of weightlessness. In one sequence, the trapezes are used to depict a reporter's exclusive interview with the ISS crew soon after the loss of Colombia. The swinging trapezes reinforce the urgency and thrill of getting the exclusive in very unusual circumstances.

The actors all move among their roles through the space on stage with a focus and presicion of intent that are incredible and compelling.
"Expedition 6" is densely packed with ideas, questions, and insights about philosophy, psychology, ethics, science, and history--all put before us in the context of a person's encounter with these issues. There are no easy answers given, but a whole world of ideas, thoughtful consideration, and possibilities opens up for the audience through the magic of this sharp and stunning production.

Conceived, devised & directed by Bill Pullman
Producer-Co-Director: Jennifer McCray Rincon
Aerial Choreography & Sound Design: Robert Davidson
Sound Design & Original Music: Gary Grundel
Lighting Design: Kel Millionie
Expedition 6 Press Kit
Denver Center of the Performing Arts October 2004

Adapted & Directed by Bill Pullman


Eight highly physical actors, within a performance space, transformed at various times by up to five low-flying trapeze sets, perform Expedition 6 -- the true story of the rescue of two American astronauts and one Russian cosmonaut from the International Space Station following the Colombia shuttle catastrophe of February 1, 2003.

The predicaments faced by the crew of Expedition 6 were completely overshadowed at the time by the imminent invasion of Iraq on March 22, 2003. Within a climate of global anxiety stemming from the Islamic/Western face-off, NASA and its International Space Station partners needed to face the challenge of successfully executing the multi-national space rescue of Astronauts Ken Bowersox and Don Petit and Cosmonaut Nickolai Budarin and returning them to their waiting families.

Expedition 6 tells the story of that mission within its global context by employing a visually compelling and kinetic performance style. Using a narrative taken from the documented words of the wide assembly of people connected directly and indirectly to the epic incident, the actors reveal the charged emotional, spiritual and technical debates that shaped the rescue and its times.

If the mission had failed, the loss of the three crew members of Expedition 6 -- added to the loss of the seven crew members of the Colombia just three months before-- most certainly would have meant the end of manned U.S. space missions for years to come. The fact that it succeeded through many harrowing and haunting twists and turns is the basis for our production.