The Aliens: Annie Baker's Obie-Winning Play at SF Playhouse
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The last date listed for The Aliens was Saturday May 5, 2012 / 8:00pm.
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It's The Seagull -- on steroids. In this contemporary, irreverent adaptation of the Anton Chekhov… More
Reviews & Ratings
Featured review from Sue T.
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“The Aliens” isn’t as effortlessly crowd-pleasing and funny as Annie Baker's “Body Awareness,” which was recently produced at the Aurora in Berkeley; in fact, at times, Baker seems to be testing the audience’s limits in this tale of two aimless and troubled 30-something men who hang out behind a small-town Vermont coffee shop, and the naive teenage employee of the shop who befriends them. There are lengthy periods of silence, when nothing much seems to happen, and then there’s the scene in which one of the characters says the word “ladder” approximately eleventy billion times in a row. It makes sense in context, but I haven’t felt such a palpable sense of audience discomfort since Will Eno’s “Thom Pain,” which also uses silence to provoke a reaction in its viewers.
I will admit that for the first 15 minutes or so, “The Aliens” annoyed me. But then I found myself drawn into the characters’ world, and Baker’s essential humanity and affection for this trio had me hooked. By the end, I felt profoundly moved, and eager to see more of her work (her third major play, “Circle Mirror Transformation,” will reportedly be getting a Bay Area run this fall). However, “The Aliens” is not for everyone. The couple sitting to my right had a long debate at intermission about whether or not to stay for the second act, and while they wound up sticking around (after some ostentatious sighing on the part of the male half), they both took out their smartphones and checked them during the play. Boo!
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I am so happy to have this opportunity to rate this play. To begin with, the writer didn't have to spend much time writing, since the silences, which were an integral part of it, were excruciatingly long. Very little happened up to intermission....continued
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The aim of San Francisco Playhouse is to provide a creative home and inspiring environment where actors, directors, writers, designers and theater lovers converge to create works that celebrate the human spirit. Founded by Bill English and Susi Damilano in 2003, San Francisco Playhouse is Union Square’s intimate, professional theatre. Using professional actors and world-class design, San Francisco Playhouse — which won the Bay Guardian‘s 2006 Best Off Broadway Theatre Award and about which the San Francisco Chronicle raved "San Francisco’s newest theatre isn’t just another tiny stage carved out of a storefront…it’s an enticing introduction to a new company" — has become an intimate theatre alternative to the traditional Union Square theatre fare, garnering 20 Bay Area Theatre Critic nominations in its first year.