“The Aliens” takes us way out to the margins, where most of us fear to go. But it’s a place many of us would recognize anyway.
Waiting for Godot meets Charles Bukowski in Cranbrook Community Theatre’s new play, currently running at the Studio Stage Door.
The play by Annie Baker, directed by Duncan Chalmers and produced by Marnée Bellavance, is a tour into existentialist angst, at times tragic, at other times comic.
Jasper and KJ (Woody Maguire and Matt Van Boeyen respectively) are two men in their 30s, old enough to feel the weight of their failures, young enough to be still waiting for their life to begin in earnest. In the meantime, they’ve dropped out, as they used to say, and spend their time hanging out in an alley behind a coffee shop. Jasper, consumed with regrets, is working on a novel, the main character of which is a substitute for himself. KJ, armed with irony and abandon, has more embraced his slacker lifestyle, although his past is still lurking just under his exuberance.
You can tell a lot about the success a person has achieved by the number of names they’ve given their former rock band — in the case of KJ and Jasper, The Aliens is the one that stuck, although the list of names is long (Hieronymous Blast stands out among the many).
The indolent pair is confronted by young Evan (Will Nicholson), a coffee shop employee, and the encounter shifts the two older men into activity, which involves them taking Evan under their wing and “teaching him everything they know.” Will their mentorship help jolt them out of their lethargy? Or will Will follow them down their peculiar rabbit hole?
“The Aliens” resumes its run at the Studio Stage Door in Cranbrook on Thursday, Feb. 17, and runs Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 18 and 19, and Wednesday, Feb. 23 through Saturday, Feb. 26. Showtimes are 7 pm.