Ridley Scott’s classic 1979 movie Alien, turns forty this year. Alien is an unassailable masterpiece, and it raised the bar in genre cinema. The film’s iconic imagery brought the pop culture conversation to a screeching halt, and Alien’s standout moments latched onto the sci-fi and horror genres with a face hugger-like grip. The Alien series has never really gone away; it’s been adapted into prequels, comic books, video games, crossover movies, and endlessly spoofed. And as the series celebrates its anniversary this year, we can expect countless homages and retrospectives. But perhaps none as cool as what a group of North Bergen High School students pulled off last week.
In a move that would make Michel Gondry proud, North Bergen High School English teacher Perfecto Cuervo helmed a lo-fi theatrical production of Ridley Scott’s Alien, titled, Alien: The Play. What the students lacked in resources and production value they made up for with moxie. Alien: The Play looks on point. They built an fantastic-looking set, crafted an ambitious alien costume, and topped it off with a menacing score.
Alien: The Play went viral last week after gadgetry aficionado Adam Savage (of Mythbusters fame) tweeted about the production. The show’s trailer currently has over 100 thousand hits on YouTube.
Alien: The Play trailer:
Sadly, the show (which was a steal at $5 at the door) ran for two nights only. But hopefully, their moment in the spotlight will inspire more students to take on ambitious sci-fi productions. If it were up to me, I would tackle Predator. Its isolated jungle setting would work on a stage. And then I would flesh out the character beats between the Dutch and his team of musclebound lugs. Blain may not have “time to bleed,” but in my version, he would have time to open up about his toxic masculinity. Think Aaron Sorkin mixed with Shake Black and you get the picture. What low-fi production would you pay $5 to see? Let us know on twitter @ThatShelf and @VictorJStiff.