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Cranbrook Community Theatre: Aliens set to land at Studio Stage Door

Duncan Chalmers directs the Annie Baker play ‘The Aliens,’ opening February 11
THE SCIENCE OF THE AWKWARD PAUSE: Cranbrook Community Theatre’s latest production — “The Aliens,” about a couple of hippie-beatnik slackers who take a nerdy youth under their wing — is currently in rehearsal, and set to open February 11 at the Studio Stage Door in downtown Cranbrook. The Annie Baker play, directed by Duncan Chalmers, features (from left) Matt Van Boeyen, Will Nicholson and Woody Maguire. Photo by Barry Coulter.

Cranbrook Community Theatre presents the second show of the 2021-22 theatre season with Annie Baker’s award winning drama, “The Aliens”, directed by CCT newcomer Duncan Chalmers.

Currently in rehearsal, “The Aliens” is an offbeat, intriguing drama with a comedy underlay. It opens in one month, February 11, at the Studio Stage Door.

Chalmers has cast Woody Maguire, Will Nicholson and Matt Van Boeyen, who are all familiar to Cranbrook audiences. Two who are currently appearing in “9 to 5: The Musical” at the Key City Theatre. The other commutes from Kimberley to share his talents.

The play takes place in a small town in Vermont. Two thirtyish men, Jasper and KJ, meet to discuss music and poetry on a patio behind a coffee shop. They discuss their band, which was called (among many things) The Aliens. KJ has dropped out of college and Jasper has not finished high school, but is writing a novel.

When Evan, a high school student who works at the coffee shop arrives, the men “decide to teach him everything they know”.

There are seemingly more minutes of silence than there are of dialogue in Baker’s script; the leanness makes strange and intriguing even the most banal exchanges. The effect is purposeful — there’s a mildly hazed authenticity that sounds like how people might talk while circled around a bong.

Producer Marnée Bellavance cautions that the subject matter at times may offend and may not be appropriate for younger audiences. The play also contains strong language, drug and tobacco use, and sensitive subject matter.

The Aliens premiered Off-Broadway in 2010, and won the Obie Award for Best New American Play. It includes original music & lyrics by Michael Chernus, Patch Darragh and Erin Gann and was developed in part with assistance from the Orchard Project.

Tickets are available online at — $17 for CCT Members and $20 for non-members. Performances are February 11-12, 17-19, and 23-26 at 7:30 pm with a matinee performance on Sunday February 13 at 2 pm.

CCT’s presentation of “The Aliens” is sponsored by Just Music.

Barry Coulter

About the Author: Barry Coulter

Barry Coulter had been Editor of the Cranbrook Townsman since 1998, and has been part of all those dynamic changes the newspaper industry has gone through over the past 20 years.
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