A play which was aired live for radio transmission and is available on audio tape.
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An Alien Voices Production
Based on a novel by Jules Verne
Script by Nat Segaloff Dir.: Jack Fletcher
Professor Otto Lindenbrock: Leonard Nimoy
Axel: John de Lancie
Hans: Richard Doyle
Martha, the professor's housekeeper: Susan Bay Grauben: Roxann Dawson
Background Voices: MarnieMosiman
Owen de Lancie
Andrew Robertson ArminShimerman
Music composed and performed by Peter Erskine
The center of the earth – science calls it "the chore", legend calls it "hell". Somewhere between the two lies man's imagination. It is man's blessing to explore his world and his curse that he is never satisfied with what he finds.
What scientists call the earth's chore begins approximately 18,000 miles straight down.
In 1864 Jules Verne explored it with words: The Journey to the center of the earth. Alien Voices explores it again - with sounds, narration and great dialogues.
Professor Lindenbrock, who is "a professor of geology and not manors", rushes his nephew, Axel, who is in love with the professor's godchild (Grauben), into his study in Koenigsstrasse to show him a 700 year old book he just had purchased, a hand written document. While they attend to it, a piece of parchment falls out of the book: A cryptogram written in Latin by a famous Icelandic alchemist, Arne Saknussemm, which describes the entrance to the center of the earth. Now Prof. Lindenbrock prepares for a journey to Island.
By ship they head for Iceland and approach Snuffles, the extinct vulcanoSneffelsYocul near Reykjawik. Hans, an Icelandic guide, is employed and food enough for 6 months is taken along. Hoping that signs have been left on the ways inside the vulcano by the early scientists, they come closer to the vulcano and find runic letters like in the cryptogram: Arne Saknussemm, the scientist, was here.
Slowly the group descends into the deep chimney of the vulcano. The heatless electricity provides light even in areas filled with gases. The lava lining the walls in a deep blue, also formed deposits and reflect the lights. Alex wonders why the temperature has not risen dramatically and Hans explains that mines keep it cold. In addition the professor sees his hopes come true that warm areas underneath the surface do not necessarily mean that the center needs to be hot. But the water becomes scarce. The group nearly dies.
Suddenly Hans leaves them in a hurry. He has heard a waterfall. Revived the group decides to follow the flow of the water downwards. After walking hundreds of miles they reach a place below the Atlantic Ocean. Some passageways are alarmingly narrow. After weeks they reach a depth of 75 miles.
Having walked in front of the group Alex suddenly was alone. Going back and finding nobody Axel panics, falls and faints. When he wakes up, he hears the voices of the others calling out for him. Hurrying towards them Axel slides down a nearly vertical shaft. Waking up he finds himself besides his uncle and Hans – in a magnificent grotto with stalagmites and filled with green light. "It is inexplicable", Prof. Lindenbrock says. The grotto is filled with an ocean-like sea and minerals which give light and (on the surface extinct) plants grow all over. Now the professor also reckons with the chance that animals might live here, too.
They build a raft and pursue their journey on the underground ocean. By chance Hans catches a fish which is extinct for long on earth. They enjoy it as a meal, not so the sea-serpents, a thirty feet long turtle and dinosaurs. They nearly become victims of these huge animals and watch them fight each other.
Having arrived directly under England a storm raises on that endless ocean. After they survived that, Alex wonders about the return journey. Lindenbrock hopes to find a straight way after they had reached their aim; - otherwise they'd have to take the same way back. Lindenbrock is wondering about the compass which keeps on showing contradicting measurements. By chance they find the initials of the early scientist carved into the lava: A S.
Encountering a blocked passage they have to use the dynamite they had taken along to blow it away on their way to the center. Clinging onto the raft they are drifting along the flow of the water as it is sucked into that newly opened tunnel. The group is entering another vulcano as Lindenbrock explains. And the explosion has caused a new activity... Axel noticed the joyful expression on his uncle's face as he obviously expects to begin the quickest return they could hope for. The raft is taken by indescribable force...
The three men awake in bright sunlight – on the surface of the earth. Soon they find out it is near Stromboli, one of the volcanoes in Italy. – More than 3000 miles from SneffelsYocul. Lindenbrock is puzzled: The compass has shown north, here they were in the South.
The news of the group having traveled the center of the earth was widely spread when they returned to Hamburg, where they got a great reception. The professor became a great man. Alex wrote a book about the journey and hoped that one day it might be possible to record the human voice so that he could tell his story.
And Alex found out about the compass: At the center all the forces of nature converged. That had caused the compass to malfunction and thereby proved that they have crossed the center of the earth.
From that moment on Lindenbrock was the happiest of scientists and Alex the happiest of man after marrying Grauben.
In addition to the play John de Lancie reads a biography of Jules Verne.