Sept. 23rd, 2018: The Downrange Telemetrics duo of Nick Jaffe and Becca Barniskis performed an evening of music and words featuring Becca’s parents, Walter and Mary Sue Barniskis. As an engineer at Honeywell in Minneapolis, Walter helped design critical guidance systems for the Gemini and Apollo spacecraft. This three-act show explores through dialog, music and sound, the historical myths and realities of The Space Age, a time of technological wonder, “patriotic mission,” and social upheaval.
Becca Barniskis - Vocals, Interrogatory, Fx, Walter and Mary Sue's Daughter
Nick Jaffe - Guitar, Fx, Vague Sense of Weightlessness
Walter Barniskis - Design Electrical Engineer, Project Gemini, Project Apollo; Becca's Father
Mary Sue Barniskis - Creative Woman; Becca's Mother
Act I: “In which Walter and Mary Sue race into space."
Walter and Mary Sue describe their lives at the height of the space race when Walter worked on Project Gemini; accompanied by a dense and atmospheric score by Nick Jaffe. The piece will investigate the life of a middle class, Catholic family living in a Minnesota suburb, a family linked by many strands to the drama unfolding above as America “raced to the moon.”
Act II: "In which Gemini VIII spins dangerously out of control."
A song cycle that tells the story of the near-disastrous Gemini VIII mission (1966) in which the space craft began to spin uncontrollably and almost cost the astronauts their lives. Composed and performed by Nick and Becca.
Act III: "In which Ed White won't come back inside."
During the Gemini IV mission astronaut Ed White conducted the first U.S. “space walk.” He was so reluctant to end the experience that he nearly exhausted his oxygen and had to be ordered to re-enter the space craft multiple times. Using unique live audio looping techniques Becca and Nick will construct a set of music using the astronauts’ and ground controllers’ language from mission transcripts and the voices of members of the audience, that will explore the strange phenomenon of astronauts who are so compelled by floating alone in the cosmos that they will risk the mission and their lives to stay outside their ship for “just a few more minutes.”