Aliens With Extraordinary Skills

September 22-October 26, 2008

By Saviana Stanescu
Directed by Tea Alagic

Sure, we all need to be loved. But some of us also need a green card.
Internationally-acclaimed Romanian playwright, poet, and journalist Saviana Stanescu brings us a dark comedy about a clown from the unhappiest country in the world, Moldova, who pins her hopes on a US work visa by creating balloon animals. Chased by Homeland Security, a deportation letter deflates her enthusiasm, and a pair of spike heels might be all it takes to burst her American Dream. This world premiere production will be directed by award-winning theater artist and Bosnian emigre Tea Alagic.

Saviana Stanescu’s play is “An enchanting piece of  theater!  Aliens radiates tons of energy.  Directed with GREAT ZEAL by Tea Alagic, the cast couldn’t be sharper!”The New York Times

“Endlessly inventive – creative and fun!” –Variety

“A triumph!  A delightfully cracked fairy tale! There’s an understated silliness, a set of adorable strugglers and just the right thread of romance and a charming cast!” – Time Out New York

“A whimsical romantic comedy! Touching and playful, worthwhile and engaging.” – Theatermania

“Excellent -highly entertaining!” CurtainUp

“Poignant and wry.”
– Associated Press

Saviana Stanescu

(Playwright) Saviana is one of the most prominent writers to have emerged from Eastern Europe after the fall of communism. She was born in Bucharest, Romania, on a cold February morning during Ceausescu’s dictatorship, and “reborn” in New York in the hot days of 2001. Her plays have been widely presented internationally and in the US.  Recent New York productions include Waxing West (2007 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Full-length Script) and YokastaS Redux at La MaMa Theatre, Flag Stories at TBG Theatre (part of Myth America Project, a collage of texts by Arthur Kopit, Theresa Rebeck, Israel Horowitz, Jason Grote, etc), Suspendida at the Ontological Theatre, Balkan Blues at the NYC Fringe Festival and the site-specific I want what you have as part of Women’s Project’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fund$ at the World Financial Center.
Saviana won the 2007 Marulic Prize for Best European Radio-drama for Bucharest Underground. Her short play Aurolac Blues, performed at HERE Arts Center, was published by Smith & Krauss and  Plays and Playwrights 2006. Two monologues have been published in the Playwrights’ Center’s Monologues for Women, and Final Countdown was produced and published in France.  She has also published six books of poetry and drama including Google me! (poetry), Black Milk (four plays) and The Inflatable Apocalypse (Best Romanian Play of the Year UNITER Award in 2000).
Saviana co-edited the anthology of plays Global Foreigners (with NYU professor Carol Martin) and roMANIA after 2000 (with CUNY professor Daniel Gerould).Her plays have recently received readings and workshops at New York Theatre Workshop, New York Stage&Film, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Playwrights’ Foundation, Traveling Jewish Theatre, Immigrants Theatre Project, CUNY Grad Center, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and Theatre Gerard Philipe de Saint-Denis, Gare Au Theatre etc. She was a 2005-2007 TCG fellow with the Lark Play Development Center, where her plays Waxing West and Lenin’s Shoe had barebones productions. Currently, Saviana is a NYSCA playwright-in-residence with Women’s Project and writer-in-residence for East Coast Artists. She holds an MA in Performance Studies (Fulbright fellow) and an MFA in Dramatic Writing (John Golden Award for excellence in playwriting) from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, where she now teaches in the Drama Department.

Tea Alagic

(Director) Tea is a director, writer, and actor. Her directing credits include Events with Life’s Leftovers by Alberto Villarreal Diaz (Mexico City, Dramafest), Laughing Pictures a Hollywood Odyssey by Matthew Maguire (Fordham University, New York), St. Joan
by George Bernard Shaw (NYU), Zero Hour by Tea Alagic (Yale University Theater), Speaking Our Mind
(New Theater New Haven), The Brothers Size by Tarrel Alvin McCraney (The Public Theater in NYC, The Studio Theater in Washington D.C, and The Abbey Theater in Dublin), Book of Daniel by Daniel Alexander Jones (Austin University), The Donny Hathaway Story (Yale Cabaret),  Marcus Brutus by Tea Alagic (Yale Repertory Theater), and Chiang Kai Chek by Charles Mee (Yale Cabaret). During her tenure as Associate Artistic Director of the Ensemble Company for the Performing Arts (ECPA), Tea directed Woyzeck by George Buchner, Piano Plays by Friederike Roth, Self-Accusation by Peter Handke, Preparadise, Sorry Now by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Baal by Bertolt Brecht.  Tea also wrote and directed The Filament Cycle, which toured internationally.
As an actor, Tea has worked with Theatre du Soleil in Paris, Robert Lepage in Quebec City, and Richard Foreman in New York. She has worked on theater productions around the world, including New York, Zurich, Vienna, Cairo, Edinburgh, Toronto, Jerusalem, Singapore, Italy, Lisbon, Paris, the Royal National Theater in London, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and many others.  She received a BFA in acting from Charles University in Prague, and a MFA in directing from Yale School of Drama, where she also received the Julian Milton Kaufman Prize for Best Director in her graduating class.  Tea has been honored with a Soros Fellowship, CEC ArtsLink Performing Arts and Literature Award, and received awards at both the Cairo International Festival and the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival for Al – Hamlet Summit by Sulayman Al- Bassam, in which Tea played role of Ophelia.

Shirine Babb

(INS Officer) Debut with Women’s Project.Off Broadway: Single Black Female directed by Colman Domingo. NYC Credits include: You Can’t Take It With You, Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania), A Role Once Played (AUDELCO Nominee). London: Widows. Regional includes: Twelfth Night (Olivia), Measure for Measure (Isabella), Omnium Gatherum (Julia).  TV: “All My Children”, Optimum LightPath.  Thanks D., Mom and the ladies that I hold such sentimental attachments to, thank you for your love and support.

Seth Fisher

(Borat) Broadway:Tom Stoppard’s Rock’N’Roll, Julius Caesar. Regional: Noah Haidle’s Persephone (Huntington); Big Wyoming (New York Stage and Film); Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Huntington). Film: Death In Love, Feeling Tall, A Walk in the Park, The Wine Bar. Television: The WeddingAlbum, All My Children, As the World Turns. Training: Carnegie Mellon. Love to Shani.

Gian Murray Gianino

(INS Officer) New York: Stitching (Wild Project), Paradise Park (Signature), Eurydice (Second Stage), Radio Macbeth (The Public), Bone Portraits (SoHo Rep), Psyche (Ohio Theatre), bobrauschenbergamerica (BAM), Crave (TheatronInc/XOProjects). Regional: BTF, Yale Rep, Arena Stage, ATL, Provincetown Rep. and with Anne Bogart’s Siti Company, Humana Festival, Stamford Performing Arts, Athenaeum, Krannert, Walker, Wexner, Bobigny, Bonn Biennale, Dublin Theatre Festival. Film/T.V.: “Painting Abby Long”, “Dead Canaries”, “Tale of Two Corners”, “Hospitality”, “Up to the Roof”, “Law and Order: SVU”, “All My Children”. B.A.: Wesleyan University.

Kevin Isola

(Bob) Broadway:  Brooklyn Boy (Manhattan Theatre Club). Off-Broadway:  Trust (The Kirk Theatre), The World Over, The Water Children (both for Playwrights Horizons), Twelfth Night, Venus, Wasp and Other Plays (all for NYSF/ The Public Theater), Everett Beekin (Lincoln Center), The New Bozena (Cherry Lane Theatre). Regional:  King Lear, As You Like It (both for Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), The Glass Menagerie (The Old Globe), Brooklyn Boy (South Coast Repertory Theatre), As Bees in Honey Drown (Provincetown Repertory Theatre), The Rainmaker (Center Stage), The New Bozena (The Hudson Theatre), Venus (Yale Repertory Theatre). Film:  Frank The Rat, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Uninvited, 24 Nights, Academy Boyz, The New Yorker. Television:  “Damages”, “Boston Legal”, “Law and Order”, “The Summer of Ben Tyler” (Hallmark Hall of Fame), “Viva Variety”, “All My Children”. MFA NYU Graduate Acting Program.

Jessica Pimentel

(Lupita) Theater credits: Anna in the Tropics (American Stage); A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings (The Shakespeare Theater); The Clean House (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater); The Cook (Seattle Rep); Romeo and Juliet (Theatreworks USA). Film: Illegal Tender, Pride and Glory, Off Jackson Avenue. Television: “Law & Order”, “Law & Order SVU”, “Third Watch”. Training: High School of the Performing Arts NY; American Academy of Dramatic Arts (NY). Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Jessica thanks friends and family for their support.

Marnye Young

(Nadia) New York: Waxing West at La MaMa e.t.c., Carrie at Theatre Couture, Big Times at W.E.T., Eve’s End: The Feast of 2012 and Fucking Ibsen Takes Time in the New York Fringe Festival, and Mickey Mouse is Dead in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Regional: Crimes of the Heart at New Harmony; Man of La Mancha and Free to Be at Hope Rep; Arms and the Man and Street Scene at Chautauqua Theatre; Steeplechase the Funnyplace: The Musical at New Harmony Project. Yale School of Drama: Rosalind in As You Like It, Hamlet in Hamlet, Maria in Twelfth Night and many others. Training: University of Evansville, Yale School of Drama.

Kris Stone

Set Design — has designed the world premieres of many plays such as God’s Ear by Jenny Schwartz (CSC/Vineyard), Act A Lady by Jordan Harrison (Humana), Steve And Idi by David Grimm (Rattlestick), The Black Eyed by Betty Shamieh, Suburb a musical by David Javerbaum and Bob Cohen, and Dublin by Lamplight by Michael West (Ireland, London, & Tasmania).  Kris received a Drama Desk Award nomination for “Outstanding Set Design of a Musical” for Tony Kushner and Maurice Sendak’s Brundibar.

Jennifer Moeller

Costume Design – recent designs include sets for Crooked (Women’s Project, dir. Liz Diamond); costumes for Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar (The Shakespeare Theatre Company) Antony & Cleopatra, Tamburlaine and Richard III (dir. Michael Kahn); Waiting for Godot (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Dance of the Holy Ghosts (Yale Repertory Theatre); Henry IV (Milwaukee Shakespeare).  Jennifer is a member of Wingspace Theatrical Design and graduate of the Yale School of Drama.

Gina Scherr

Lighting Design — recently designed lights for I’m So Close It’s Not Even Funny (Theatre Why Not, Toronto) and Vendetta Chrome (Clubbed Thumb at The Ohio Theatre). Other designs include Cherubina (Sanford Meisner Theatre), Waxing West (LaMaMa ETC), Pornographic Angel (Ohio Theatre), Babyface (Walkerspace), The Movado Hour (Baryshnikov Arts Center), Gulf View Drive (78th Street Theatre Lab), Momma and God’s Waiting Room (PS122), Iphigenia at Aulis (City College), Safe in Hell (Yale Repertory Theatre) and the 2007 season of Chamber Dance Project at The Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater. Gina received her MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

Sarah Pickett

Original Music & Sound Designer — recent credits include: Theater for a New Audience (NYC): co-sound design for Ohio State Murders. Yale Repertory Theater: sound design for Richard II. Yale School of Drama: original music and sound design for Pericles, Zero Hour and Edward II. At the Yale Cabaret: Composer for Max Out Loud, music and sound design for Finding WaysThe Bacchae and God is a DJ. At The Hangar Theater, sound design for No Child, Bad Dates, Rough Magic, Stones in His Pockets, Topdog Underdog, and Bach at Leipzig. At Syracuse Stage: co-author and composer for The Great Peanut Butter Radio Hour, and music director and Yitzhak for Hedwig & the Angry Inch.  BFA Syracuse University, MFA Yale School of Drama.

Alaine Alldaffer

Casting Director – Alaine is the Casting Director for Playwrights Horizons and The Huntington Theater in Boston. Theater credits include Deadman’s Cellphone with Mary Louis Parker (PWH), Grey Gardens (PWH and Broadway), Walmartopia the musical, The Knights of Prosperity (ABC), ED (NBC). Currently in the works is She Loves Me for the Huntington and The Williamstown Theater Festival.  She credits Lisa Donadio, her Associate and right arm.

Adriana Zollo

Assistant Set Design — Adriana is presently studying at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, with a major in Architecture & Design and a minor in Biology.  She has studied studio drawing, woodshop, model making, painting, art history, furniture design, and theater design. She collaborates with the university theater to build scenery, and will soon be studying abroad in Florence.  Currently, she is working as a studio design assistant for Kris Stone, and is enjoying this opportunity to learn more about the theater design process.

Beth Goldenberg

Assistant Costume Design — Assistant Design: Up In the Air (Kennedy Center), Tamburlaine (Shakespeare Theatre). Costume Design: Tooth Fairy/Sugar Daddy (Garage Ensemble); Don’t Tread On Me (52nd St. Project); Theremin, Dressing Miss Julie (NYC Fringe); Me, My Guitar & Don Henley (Crooked Neck Productions); The Drowned World, Tempest, Rimers of Eldritch (BU).  Various regional work as a costume crafts artisan.  Education: BFA, Costume Design, Boston University.

  • Jessica Pimentel and Seth Fisher in ALIENS WITH EXTRAORDINARY SKILLS. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

  • Gian Murray Gianino, Natalia Payne, and Shirine Babb in ALIENS WITH EXTRAORDINARY SKILLS. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

  • Seth Fisher and Natalia Payne in ALIENS WITH EXTRAORDINARY SKILLS. Photo by Carol Rosegg.