Arts & CultureCampus & City

Theatre Review: Theatre Network’s “We Are Not Alone”

What: We Are Not Alone

Where: The Roxy on Gateway

When: February 14 to March 3, 8:00 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets: $30 general, $27 for students

Playwright: Damien Atkins

Directors: Chris Abraham & Christian Barry

Cast: Damien Atkins

We Are Not Alone boldly goes where no play has gone before: in search of aliens!

Written and performed by Damien Atkins, We Are Not Alone is a show all about UFOs, extraterrestrials, and the paranormal. It’s an exciting new piece of theatre, one that touches on a subject so rarely considered by other playwrights.

We Are Not Alone is one part history lesson, one part personal narrative. The play follows Atkins in his search for the truth about extraterrestrials and through his process of writing the show.

Atkins takes the audience on a journey across space and time, from a mysterious crash site in Roswell, New Mexico, to the UFO Congress, to the Arizona desert in search of interdimensional portals. Along the way, he introduces his audience to a cast of zany characters, all of whom desperately want their stories to be heard and believed.

We Are Not Alone has so many strong points, with the most important being Atkins’s performance. Throughout every moment of the show, Atkins is charming, engaging, and dynamic. He masterfully crafts his story and encourages his audience to participate in it in a fun and genuine way.

Most impressive, perhaps, is Atkins’s versatile characterizations. Each of Atkins’s characters, from a “UFO psychologist” to a woman claiming to be a human-alien hybrid, has their own distinct set of mannerisms and way of talking. Atkins truly proves his chops as an actor with We Are Not Alone.

Jonah Dunch Damien Atkins in We Are Not Alone – Andree Lanthier / Theatre Network

Along with a great performance by Atkins, We Are Not Alone’s design is excellent. The show’s lighting, set, and sound all come together perfectly to conjure an eerie, mysterious mood. Entering the theatre — which is shrouded in thick fog during the preshow — feels like stepping into another world entirely, perfectly setting the mood for the show to come.

However, We Are Not Alone isn’t perfect. While well-written, the script is often repetitive, and certain sections of it feel unnecessary altogether. For example, Atkins spends the first five to 10 minutes of his show explaining his motivation for writing a play about aliens and the hurdles he had to face in order to convince others to produce his show.

While Atkins plays this section for laughs, it nevertheless felt superfluous to me. In fact, the whole beginning of We Are Not Alone felt like Atkins trying to convince me that his play about aliens was worth seeing, even though I obviously already wanted to be there.

Despite this small issue, Atkins’s solid writing and stellar performance (get it?) come together perfectly to form a show that is hilarious, engaging, and even philosophical at times. While the play may not be perfect, it’s more than worth seeing. It’s about time we had another play about aliens — especially one this good!

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