‘The Aliens’ invade Maplewood

MAP-theater project aliens-WMAPLEWOOD, NJ — Two young drifters hanging out behind a Vermont coffee shop discussing art and the nature of the universe decide to teach a lonely high school student everything they know. “The Aliens,” a new play by Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Baker, is being presented by The Theater Project, March 31 through April 3, at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood.

Described as a play with music about friendship, art, love and death, “The Aliens” is part of a rich tradition of stories told from the point of view of the outsider, in this case the drop out or slacker who avoids committing to a 9-to-5 routine.

“I think these plays are especially popular with young people,” Theater Project Artistic Director Mark Spina said in a release. “Transitioning from college to the working world is tough — there is always the dream of trying a less traditional path and exploring life’s other possibilities, but there is also the fear that straying from the 9-to-5 routine will leave you adrift.”

Nick Walsh, the play’s director said: “Since graduating from college, I find myself constantly relearning everything that I thought I once knew. For a brief moment of time, Evan, the main character in ‘The Aliens,’ escapes from his sheltered lifestyle and truly learns what it means to have a friend, from two guys most people would consider losers.”

A recent Ramapo College graduate, Walsh directed one of the pieces in The Theater Project’s 2015 festival of one-act plays.

“I had watched one of Nick’s rehearsals,” Spina said, “and talked to him about his approach to material. I was extremely impressed, so when he proposed this project to us, I jumped on it.”

Part of the company’s mission is to provide opportunities for playwrights and directors.

“The Aliens” is being presented in tandem with “The Groundling,” a comedy by Marc Palmieri, from April 14 through 24. Patrons can see both plays at a discount when they pre-purchase tickets.

For more information, visit www.TheTheaterProject.org.