Alien Invader

Developing a New Play

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This is a synopsis of Alien Invader

So it might be beneficial for all involved if I gave a brief description of Alien Invader.

The story concerns four adopted siblings: 
Grant White, 29, a straight-laced guy content with mediocrity.
Sophia White, 26, high-strung, loud, opinionated, has money problems.
Elliot White, 23, laid-back, obsessed with video games, terrible at school.
Danielle White, 20, introspective, thoughtful, has aphasia from a stroke.

A year and a half before the beginning of the play, Danielle suffered a stroke, which has since left her with expressive aphasia, which means she is fully functional in all ways except her abilities to read, write, and speak, which she is slowly recovering.  Six months later, Thomas and Mabel White, their parents, died in a skiing accident in West Virginia.  Grant moved into their house with Elliot and Danielle, who had already been living there.  

At the beginning of the play, Sophia’s apartment has burned down, and her only place to turn is her siblings.  Her arrival causes much friction, especially with Grant, who is always on her case about her spending habits.  Also, we learn that Elliot has failed college for the eighth time, and does not plan to re-enroll.  Throughout the play, we also come to learn that Grant has lost his job and Danielle is searching for her biological mother.

Two major developments occur soon thereafter, which forever change the course of everyone’s life.  First, Sophia decides that they should sell the house, which Grant is opposed to.  Second, Elliot digs out of the closet an old copy of Alien Invader, The Worst Video Game Ever Made [based on the actual ET video game for Atari].  One night, as Elliot is playing the game, it speaks to him and tells him to go on a journey to the desert in New Mexico where millions of copies of Alien Invader are buried [again, based on what really happened to the actual ET video game], where he will find himself.  

From there, stuff gets worse, and eventually all gets sorted out.  It’s more character driven than plot driven, so explaining it from there might be pointless.  Or maybe I’m just bad at summarizing my work?

There’s still a lot of work to be done (for instance, the subplot involving Danielle’s search for her mother has not even been written yet), but this is the basic framework.  I plan to start rewrites at the end of this month, so we’ll see how that goes.  I’m hoping that by the time we start rehearsals the play will be very polished and punched up: the highs higher, the lows lower, the jokes funnier, and the…other stuff b…better…  Imagine the play being a black and white photo—right now I’ve taken the picture, and I’ve brought the negative into the darkroom, and now I’m cranking up the contrast on the enlarger.  What?  That analogy doesn’t really work, does it?

Filed under synopsis, alien invader drama theater mfa rewrites

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