Useless Questions: A Sci-Fi Staged Reading

by Laura E. Goodin

adapted for the stage and directed by Neil Marsh

Three reference librarians field a series of bizarre questions that lead them to the conclusion their eccentric caller is fending off an invasion force of alien lobster-people...and learn that one of their own number is a lobster-sympathizer!

Useless Questions is a staged reading based on a radio play written by Melbourne-based author Laura E. Goodin. It was first performed by Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre in Sacramento, CA and was later performed at the Conflux Speculative Fiction Convention in Canberra, Australia in 2014.

This is the second in a series of science-fiction staged readings entitled First Contact, which began last year with Neil's production of Bill Gray's Cage of Light. Neil hopes to conclude with a third play next year, followed by a mainstage show featuring fully-staged versions of all three plays.

About The Director: After years of providing soundscapes, Neil Marsh has begun directing shows for Theatre@First. Neil is a life-long fan of radio drama. He co-founded T@F's sister organization, The Post-Meridian Radio Players and served as its Artistic Director for eight years. During that time he created PMRP's Parsec Award-winning audiodrama miniseries, The Mask of Inanna. Neil is also known for his portrayal of the recurring character Porec in the Blue Sky Red podcast Second Shift. Neil also serves as principal sound designer for the Chameleon's Dish theater company's Mrs. Hawking series of Victorian adventure plays, written and directed by Phoebe Roberts.

About The Playwright: New Jersey-born author Laura E. Goodin has worked as a reporter, editor, technical writer, media manager, web-content developer, writing teacher, and freelance writer, but it was only as she entered her 40s that she determined to return to her childhood dream of writing stories that would amaze and entertain. She was transmuted in the crucible of the 2007 Clarion South Workshop, and went on to gain a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Western Australia.

Her first two novels, After the Bloodwood Staff and Mud and Glass, have been published by Odyssey Books. Her stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Daily Science Fiction, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Review of Australian Fiction, Adbusters, Wet Ink, and The Lifted Brow, among others, and in several anthologies. Her plays and libretti have been performed on three continents, and her poetry has been performed internationally, both as spoken word and as texts for new musical compositions. She currently teaches writing at various tertiary institutions.

Laura lives in Melbourne with her husband, composer Houston Dunleavy, and spends what little spare time she has in trying to be as much like Xena, Warrior Princess as possible. (This includes horseback riding, fencing, martial arts, camping, and picking up useful skills of all kinds wherever possible.)


ONE NIGHT ONLY! Saturday, January 20, 2018, at 8pm

Free with Suggested Donation – General Admission – No reservations needed

BONUS SNEAK PREVIEW! People attending the Boston sci-fi convention ARISIA were able to catch a sneak preview of Useless Questions on Saturday, January 13, 2018, at 11am in Grand Ballroom CD at the Westin Waterfront Hotel. Visit for details.


Useless Questions was presented at Unity Somerville, 6 William Street, Somerville, MA 02144.

The performance space is not wheelchair-accessible.

Parking on William St is by permit only. General parking is available on College Ave. Please read signs carefully to avoid ticketing.







Zoey Howe

Lori-Anne Cohen

Mack Carroll

Renée Johnson Walsh

Brian Edgar

Production Team



Stage Manager

Original Soundscape

Theme Music

Graphic Designer

Stephanie Haddad

Neil Marsh

Kay Coughlin

Neil Marsh

Houston Dunleavy

Neil Marsh