THE ALIENS, Outhouse Theatre Co at the Old Fitz, 27 August-19 September 2015. Photography by Rupert Reid, above: Jeremy Waters, James Bell and Ben Wood; right: James Bell.
At just 34 Annie Baker is one of those rarities in American (and world) theatre: a rapidly rising and successful female playwright. First produced in the US in 2014, The Aliens is her sixth play in six years and she has already won Drama Desk and Obie awards. In short, she can write for the stage. And she has a quirky sense of humour that’s fed by a sharp ear for language, both everyday and high flown.
Jasper (Jeremy Waters) and his friend KJ (Ben Wood) have taken over the grotty backyard of a cafe somewhere in small town Maine. Jasper, a thirty-something loser who makes smoking a cigarette an act of barely suppressed violence, says little – and actually says nothing very loudly and for an extremely long time in the emotionally incendiary opening sequence. However, when he insists on reading aloud from his half-written novel it is surprisingly and genuinely eloquent.