Upstart Productions, a theater group that launched to local critics’ praise in 2008, marks its return to the stage after a yearlong hiatus with a guest-directed production of award-winning off-Broadway play, “The Aliens.” Opening night is August 8, 2013 at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park.
The dingy back alley of a sleepy Vermont coffeehouse is home to trash bins, weathered patio furniture, and two affable slackers, KJ and Jasper. They fill their languid days with Bukowski references, low-key jam sessions, aspirations to launch their band dubbed The Aliens, and ’shroom-spiked tea. When smart but awkward teenager Evan, a new coffeehouse employee, attempts to evict them from their makeshift perch,
KJ and Jasper recruit him as their summer protégé.
“The simple slice-of-life play is as much an inspirational, coming-of-age story as it is an acute study of human behavior,” says David Denson, Upstart’s guest director of “The Aliens.” “Our set design brings the audience into the play, like a fishbowl, allowing a very personal and up-close look at the very often awkward, but also touching lives of three young men.”
Award-winning playwright Annie Baker premiered “The Aliens” at The Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, New York City, in April 2010. The New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood heralded it for its “subtle magic.” Later that year, the play won the industry’s preeminent OBIE Award for Best New American Play and was a finalist for the 2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.
Consistent with Upstart’s mission to incubate local up-and-coming actors, “The Aliens” cast includes a mix of both familiar and fresh faces for Upstart audiences: Joey Folsom (who plays Jasper and also appeared in Upstart's 2010 production of “Suburbia”), Tim Maher (a recent graduate of University of Dallas who plays KJ) and Justin Duncan (who plays Evan and is also currently in Shakespeare Dallas’ “Pericles.”)
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