ONE WAY

Music by BEN BONNEMA
Lyrics by CHRISTOPHER STASKEL
Book by BEN BONNEMA & CHRISTOPHER STASKEL

Naomi, a Canadian climate scientist, is selected as a finalist to go on the first one-way trip to Mars. Thousands have applied through Fourth Planet, a private company, and only fifty remain in the running. Naomi’s partner, Elaine, struggles to understand why the mission is worth a human life. 

Naomi must choose: venture to Mars in the name of scientific advancement and human exploration or remain here on Earth to be with the woman she loves.

The opening number of our show. We see Naomi applying for Fourth Planet, a private company that plans to put the first four-person crew on Mars as the start of a permanent human settlement. Amidst thousands of other applicants, Naomi considers the one thing she may not be able to give up: her partner, Elaine.
The second song in the show. Naomi has just found out that she’s a finalist for the first ever one-way Mars mission. The final interviews are in Norway, so Naomi tears off to find her passport. Elaine, knowing exactly where the passport is, pulls it out and considers sabotage. But after seeing Naomi’s genuine excitement, Elaine ultimately decides the best way to keep her relationship intact is to feign support and trust that Naomi will choose her, as she always has before.
When Sven, one of the other finalists, is asked if he’s prepared to leave his loved ones behind, we see him and his wife Ingrid discussing it honestly and practically. Only when they hash out the details of what his absence would mean, including missing his children’s life moments, does Sven reconsider.
Sven has resolved to withdraw his Fourth Planet application, unable to imagine life without his wife and children. He hands Naomi a copy of his letter, hoping that she, too, will drop out. The four candidates contemplate the nebulous concept of “home.”
Two-thirds of the way through the show. Naomi and Zoe are on the tail end of an extended Martian analogue training simulation. Deprived of any human contact save for the four crewmates, they fantasize about potential candidates for a sordid encounter.
As the training simulation wears on and the day of the launch approaches, Elaine begins to let go as Naomi desperately holds on tighter. Home alone, Elaine struggles to fill her days.
The final number in the show. Naomi has been offered a spot on the first crew that's going to Mars and not coming back. Initially unsure if she can leave her partner, Naomi ultimately accepts the offer. She doesn't know how to say goodbye to Elaine, so instead they go outside and stargaze.

Developmental History

6 July 2015

A reading of the first act presented at The Musical Theatre Factory. Directed by Jorge Lopez. Music Direction by Heath Saunders. Dramaturgical Assistance by Natasha Sinha (LCT3). 

30-31 May 2016

A reading at Playwrights Horizons via The Musical Theatre Factory's Developmental Residency Program. Directed by Kirsten Sanderson (First Daughter's Suite).

August 2017

We were selected from over 100 applications to receive a weeklong residency at Rhinebeck Writers Retreat in August 2017.

From Page To Stage,” a new theatre festival at The Other Place theatre in London, selected “One Way” from over 300 applications to present thirty minutes of material in August 2017.

January-February 2018

Chris and Ben spent two weeks at the Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, developing the show.