Title: The Heated Future: A Timely Tale
Type: Audio Docu-Drama
Genre: Social Commentary
Availability: Free – MIT TERRASCOPE Project
Greetings, Audionauts – Captain Radio here with a review of M.I.T./Terrascope’s docu-drama production, The Heated Future: A Timely Tale.
In an effort to encourage experiential rather than lecture hall learning, the in 2002 M.I.T. created the Terrascope that engages freshmen in active evaluation of complex system problems they then attempt to resolve through integrating science, engineering, and, most uniquely, the humanities.
One Terrascope group took this multi-disciplined approach a full step further by using audio docu-drama to emphasize a solution!
Some background: Abruptly departing from the OPEC cartel party line that eschews renewable energy as an income threat, and with the encouragement of close friend and confidant Prince Charles of Great Britain, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2009 declared that Abu Dhabi would function on 7% Green Energy by 2020. The crown jewel of this effort would be Masdar, the world’s first carbon neutral city, a project that Prince Charles has quietly championed for some time among many Middle Eastern royals.
Wondering how significant Masdar might be to a broiling 22nd century civilization struggling to cope with carbon pollution barely in check, the Terrascope students hit upon creating a docu-drama to explore the issues.
Three chronically heat-exhausted future teens, Ignatius, Avi, and Rundel, one day encounter a strange large, glowing metallic shell in their corner of the expanding urban desert. Inside, next to a predictably large red button, they find a cryptic note containing their names from someone named “Ari.”
Of course, the red button gets touched, lights flicker, and electronic FX bristle.
Moments later the three emerge into a cooler desert of a bygone era. A humorous and impatient bus driver providentially appears to whisk them off on a tour of nearby gleaming Masdar, where the air is so clear and clean that they immediately sense increased vitality.
Though the Terrascope novice producers maintain the drama through regular reference back to our intrepid time travelers, the remaining bulk of the twenty-two minute story focuses on sound bytes from Masdar scientists, engineers, and public relations personnel as well as local citizens and tourists.
Here’s an example of overhearing on the bus tour:
After much more of this reflective ebullience, briefly interrupted by a mild tirade from a bar fly who discounts the doom prophecies of carbon emission disaster, the three teens perceive the true importance of Masdar, both to the current generation and to their own:
Then they discover who sent the time travel unit and must immediately make a critical decision that will change their future, and ours, forever.
While the audio crafting has definite rough edges (including inconsistent audio level and quality and portions of interviews sometimes difficult to understand), I applaud the novel notion of using a modest docu-drama to create an audio essay on the real problems the Terrascope students confronted. Indeed, this unique form allows the students to express well both fact and feeling in a surprisingly balanced manner.
M.I.T.’s Terrascope freshman student production of The Heated Future: A Timely Tale can be heard currently on the First Sound channel at captainradio.com.
Until next time, Audionauts – this is Captain Radio, signing off![audio:http://media.blubrry.com/radiodramarevival/fredg6.sg-host.com/mp3/capt-radio-heated-future.mp3]