Axis Company’s annual Hospital series, a sci-fi serial staged in weekly installments, may sound like a cool idea, but the 2009 incarnation, at least, is off to a shaky start. This stream-of-consciousness (to put it nicely) progression through recycled space-age tropes, credited to director Randy Sharp and the ensemble, could use the sure hand of a more focused writer. Running a TV-appropriate 40 minutes, Episode One initially focuses on an astronaut adrift in his module, cut off from the mother ship (ominously named the Earhart). Then another man in a NASA suit—who’s really a doctor and may or may not run a dance club—goes on a rant about . . . something. The finale descends into a lackadaisical spoof of the film Aliens. Perhaps some cliffhanger ending was intended, but the final fade-out just seems abrupt and anticlimactic, if merciful.
Seasoned fans of this decade-old endeavor might better appreciate the performance’s eccentricities, but to a Hospital “virgin” like myself, it all feels like a big inside joke. No doubt Episodes Two, Three, and, gasp, Four will elucidate things, but all the backstory in the world would still not mitigate Axis’s amateurish yet smug presentation.