Monday, March 26, 2012

The Aliens by Annie Baker, Hyde Park Theatre, March 22 - April 21

The Aliens Annie Baker Hyde Park Theatre Austin TX

The Aliens by young play writing genius Annie Baker is a dazzling, offbeat oratorio of inarticulate thought and emotion.

Out back of a Vermont coffee shop there's a dingy employee break area. K.J. and Jasper, guys from nowhere of consequence, have appropriated it as their own hang-out space, like a couple of raccoons nesting under a deck.

K.J. sits motionless much of the time, lost in vague thought, surfacing from time to time to renew contact. Jude Hickey makes him courteous, rounded as a sloth, interested when focused, entirely comfortable in this little world bounded by chain link fence, trash cans and weather-stained brick walls. Joey Hood as Jasper is edgy energy burning in silence at the warped and weather beaten wooden picnic table planted on an unforgiving surface of glittering gravel.

Discovering them there is Evan, the slack jawed, empty headed part-time employee of the coffee shop. He never tells them what he does, but his consternation at finding them out there makes it pretty clear that he's a bus boy, not a barista. Just about any comment addressed to Evan filters into his brain, totters on the brink of consciousness, rebounds and then settles, stimulating the inevitable response: "Uh -- cool."

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