The Time Machine

“The Time Machine has an underground theme,” said a member of the production crew, “and we could have some fun with special effects. It would be like Doctor Who in 4D! It gets my vote for next month’s show.”

“What about 2001: A Space Odyssey?” said Danny. “We could really make something of that last bit, with the crazy colours and blinking eye.”

Sophie was proud of the QARY project’s success. Converting the old quarry into a venue for multimedia shows had been her baby. She was looking for a show to complete the second season; the short list comprised The Time Machine, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984.

The latter two had been discounted. Fahrenheit 451 because its flames would be too disturbing underground, and 1984 because its world of tiny apartments, two-way screens, media brainwash and endless wars, already existed. People may as well stay at home.

Sophie said, “Okay, who wants Time Machine?” Some hands rose. “Two Thousand and One?” A few less. “The Time Machine wins. So as we discussed, there are three main journeys. The first is the table top model disappearing in front of the inventor’s dinner guests. It’s a minor plot point but we could beef it up. The second journey is the one to 802,701 A.D., where he meets the Eloi and Morlocks. That’s the main part of the story. The third journey is the one thirty million years into the future, where he sees a dying earth and menacing red crablike creatures, and black blobs with tentacles.”

Danny said, “Will we have use of the third chamber for the show?”

“Good question. The renovation of the third chamber is almost complete, but we have unresolved health and safety issues, in particular black mould. Hey, maybe we could use that to bring the black blobs to life.” The production crew chuckled.

Danny had been difficult initially, but was now her most helpful crew member. Even though his favourite idea hadn’t been chosen, he was right back to 100% commitment on the idea that had. He said, “We could use the two main chambers to create Eloi and Morlock worlds. That would give them scale and depth. The inventor’s home is only there for framing than story. We could create it in the entrance area, or even by narration alone.”

Sophie thought, yes, that would work. The thrust of the story is the ultimate result of modern industrial relations. Bosses and workers became distinct classes of people with little in common, something Wells was very worried about.

The best way to show this would be to create two different worlds. Sophie directed the crew to focus on this separation in a modern context. She told them to create opulent and restless worlds.

The Eloi world was very bright. There were small communities of happy elfin people in large futuristic buildings. They performed no work, just spent their lives at ease, laughing and playing, whilst consuming a healthy, fruitarian diet.

The Morlock world was dense and dark. The noise of grinding machinery was everywhere as evidence of their constant industry. Stocky, brutish people moved around in a threatening manner, awaiting their chance to catch and eat you.

On opening night Sophie noticed something disturbing. Unlike previous shows, people were not moving between the chambers. Professional people reclined in the Eloi area, while unskilled workers and their families walked around the Morlock world. It seemed the process of social degeneration was underway.

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