An old man works on a beaten down space ship. He’s travelling somewhere, and spends most of his time repairing it. We get the sense that there used to be more people on the ship. A star map shows a potted journey through worlds and systems, spanning years, in search of an elusive ‘Promised Land’. In fixing the ship, he’s forced to cannibalise a part from another piece of machinery: then again, then again. He eats alone in an empty canteen; sleeps alone in an single cabin. Yet occasionally he hears voices, sees ghosts. His music tracks are occasionally punctuated by one with screams which he always skips. He drops a spanner into a moving gear while working and injures his arm retrieving it. While treating himself, he listens to the screams instead of skipping. Eventually he arrives at his destination: the Earth. Abandoned, now found again. He pulls on an ex-captain’s coat, prepares a whisky, and sends a message back to his people - they’re safe, just elsewhere, and now they’re coming to him. He watches the Earth with watery eyes. We leave him and move back through the ship, revealing the cannibalised part was the landing gear.
We are adapting the death of Moses from Deuteronomy. We loved the themes of reflection, flawed legacy and acceptance present in the story. His solo pilgrimage to the top of Mount Nebo, where he sees the Promised Land (the thing he’s worked his entire life towards) while knowing he can never set foot there himself is a perfectly bittersweet ending for this great, but flawed man of God. We saw this journey as an opportunity for reflection and acceptance by Moses (hence our title Acquiescence) while showcasing his strength of character that was persistent throughout his life. We were inspired to reframe the story through a sci-fi lens as it gives us an opportunity to subvert some of the trappings of the genre. Rather than a pristine piece of hyper-tech, his ship is a barely functioning rust bucket requiring constant work to stay afloat. What an audience might initially see as a ‘whodunnit’ story is revealed to be one man’s reconciliation with the life he led. We also felt making the Earth the Promised Land was a fittingly circular ending for the narrative, while also touching on contemporary themes of environmentalism.