A high school performance of the sci-fi horror movie Alien has been now released online in its entirely. The stage adaptation gained notoriety last month after news of the play went viral, the production gaining praise from a number of celebrities including Josh Gad and Patton Oswalt.
2019 marks forty years since Alien’s initial release, and in that time it has never left public consciousness. The wider universe hinted at by the film’s simple story has subsequently been expanded into a number of properties throughout various mediums, but the lure of the original, with its straightforward yet powerful evocation of primal fears, has allowed it to maintain a firm hold in the imaginations of its audience.
The whole performance of a stage production of Alien by the drama club of North Bergen High School, NJ has been made available online. Running at a little under and hour and a half, the recording is an encore performance of the show, put on after high demand was sparked by the spreading notoriety of the original two-night run, and was introduced by none other than Ripley herself Sigourney Weaver, who lauded the achievement. The small amount of what could be seen in the viral pictures and videos suggested the talent of the production team, but now that the whole play can be watched from beginning to end, the level of creativity on display becomes even more apparent.
The attention to detail in the props and sets is impressive enough for any amateur production, but when you consider that they were all made out of recycled materials, it becomes even more remarkable. It becomes especially impressive during key moments of the film such as the recreation of the dead Space Jockey’s chair, the facehugger bursting from its egg, Kane’s infamous death scene, and the final reveal of the xenomorph in its grotesque nightmarish glory, growling and hissing as it stalks the aisles in search of its prey. Each of the teenagers perfectly embodies their character, their performances making it apparent who they are even without memorable lines and distinctive situations identifying them. The use of original music from the film aided in recreating the sinister atmosphere, and there was even some humor added by a few jokes acknowledging the advance in technology and culture since the ‘70s (“Google? What the hell’s that?”).
In the four decades since Alien’s original release, much of its original shock factor has been diluted by the vast number of sequels, prequels and crossovers that largely adhered to the law of diminishing returns, not to mention its regular citing in endless pop culture references. In spite of this, Ridley Scott’s original classic remains a seminal point in cinematic history. That an amateur stage production with presumably limited resources and a small budget can nevertheless manage to capture the essence of what makes a film so special is a spectacular achievement, especially in a world where hundreds of millions of dollars can be spent on a movie that says absolutely nothing. While it’s not clear what the high schoolers behind the production of Alien are planning to do next, it will certainly be something to watch out for.
Source: North Bergen High School