North Bergen High School, you’ve done it! You’ve turned the greatest science fiction horror film of all time into a stage drama and succeeded spectacularly. That was a remarkable achievement, and you deserve to take a bow.
While other schools put on productions for Oklahoma, A Streetcar Named Desire, or Hello Dolly, the creative kids of North Bergen High School in New Jersey did something more like “Hello Nostromo”. Yep, they know what we really want! Alien!
With what all accounts would be considered a normal high school theatrical production budget, they modeled up and re-created ready for prime-time props and costumes. According to NJ.com, the kids pretty much recreated the sets from scraps and recycled materials. Much credit to their high school art instructor Steven Defendini for all the attention to detail, and for drama instructor Perfecto Cuervo (Love that name!) for having the sheer chutzpah for even trying to do this. I mean c’mon… look at this!
Gabriella DelaCruz leads a largely Latino cast as Ripley, the iconic steely action heroine. The play also stars Ibrahim Jaludi as Brett, David DeDiego as Dallas, Pedro Sarmiento as Parker, Britney Gonzalez as Lambert, Jason Lopez as Kane, and Dakota Rios as Ash. How do I know this? Did I get a playbill? Nope. They cut an awesome intro trailer! Great job with the Weyland Yutani and Nostromo patches, by the way.
According to Entertainment Weekly, North Bergen doesn’t even have a formal drama program. Cuervo is one of the English teachers, who just happens to have a passion for drama, and apparently, horror. And, in a creative twist, to cover for the nature of a stage production, they had the xenomorph creep around the audience during set shifts. Can you imagine being at an original screening of Alien, and having a xenomorph pop up in the audience? Back in ’79 that may have required a change of pants..
Thanks to the twitter feed of a couple of the audience members, Paul Owen and Andrew Fernandez, we also got some of the play caught on video. And, it caught the attention of the likes of Mythbuster Adam Savage, Josh Gad, The official Fox Alien Website, the Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy, and Elijah Wood who gave out a “Holy Shit!” exclamation on Owen’s twitter feed. Sometimes, the internet is a good thing.
Here is the Face Hugger Scene. Note the nice touch of the fog on the floor. Great lighting and sound too!
And Ripley’s showdown with the xenomorph in the shuttle. I love the screams from the audience. That’s one hell of a xenomorph suit, is it not?
This wasn’t the first horror movie that NBHS re-imagined, as they had previously done the more set-friendly Night of the Living Dead. I wish they did this at my high school when I was a kid! Hell, I might have even taken acting classes if I could have taken part in this. My request to NBHS for next year? Do The Thing! If you can pull off Alien, you can pull off the Carpenter classic!