Campfire Theatre Festival 2018: Reading of 'The Fermi Paradox' Asks, 'What Are the Odds?' 

click to enlarge Chad Ethan Shohet and Tess Worstell perform in The Fermi Paradox.

Harrison Berry

Chad Ethan Shohet and Tess Worstell perform in The Fermi Paradox.

Early on in Katherine Vondy's play, The Fermi Paradox, Pilot Joseph Morgan (Chad Ethan Shohet) does some back-of-a-napkin math.

"It is literally 1,000 times more likely that I will survive a brain tumor for 10 years than fall in love," he tells his co-pilot and best friend, played by Dakotah Brown.

Love does find Joseph—then, like the spacecraft where most of the play's action takes place, it disembarks.

For weeks, Joseph has sat alone on his space-bound ark after the sudden death of his co-pilot. Their mission had been to collect data on a gravitational anomaly, but for too long, and with only the company of his commanding officer's disembodied voice, Joseph has spent his days contemplating his positive character traits and disappointing love life.

That's when the aliens arrive.

The paradox the play draws its name from suggests that, given the size of the universe, the large number of planets capable of supporting life and the likelihood that some of those have produced technologically advanced civilizations, an alien encounter is more likely than not—so why hasn't this happened yet?

What are the odds of meeting an extraterrestrial? What are the odds of falling in love? It turns out that number-crunching the likelihood of an alien encounter produces results that mirror the chance of finding a soulmate.

The Fermi Paradox, which was read on stage during day one of Campfire Theatre Festival 2018 at Boise Contemporary Theater, has the warm humor, bitter themes and dark plot twists favored by local theater companies, and it resembles Isabella D'Esposito's Horizon Three, which will be produced by HomeGrown Theatre in December and January. HomeGrown Theatre has already picked up a CTF-read play, Sing to Me Now, which just wrapped performances.

The festival continues Saturday and Sunday with numerous readings and workshops. For more details check out its website
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