On Saturday, April 23, ETSU’s Patchwork Players presented a play by Annie Baker titled “The Aliens.”
This irreverent drama featured a small cast of three men and a minimalistic set, which allowed the story and the acting to shine. The play, which is equal parts hilarious and sad, is essentially the coming of age story of a high school kid named Evan. According to actor Ryan Leonard, who played Evan, the story and the character are highly relatable.
“It was interesting playing someone I could identify with,” said Leonard.
Audience member and theater student Tyler Mitchell also noted how relatable the story was.
“What I liked most is that this story is something that I or anyone else could relate to, especially young people,” said Mitchell.
The play was directed by theater student Evin McQuistion and marked his first foray into the realm of directing. In a note from the director included in the program, McQuistion describes the play as being “essentially about a couple of guys spending their days sitting in silence.”
McQuistion is right. The plot of the play is radically simple, yet this simplicity is what leads to its gut-wrenching honesty. Keith Maultbay played KJ, a brilliant and broken stoner, who had audiences laughing and then crying over the course of the performance. Maultbay noted how beautifully put together this simple play was.
“It was an honor to be in a play as beautifully constructed as ‘The Aliens,’” said Maultbay.
Audiences were impressed with Maultbay’s captivating performance, and Vianna Isbister was amazed with his transformation in the role.
“Keith [Maultbay] totally embodied the stoner vibe; he’s like a completely different person on stage,” said Vianna.
The crowd on opening night was largely comprised of theater students and faculty and many were impressed with McQuistion’s skills as a director.
Mitchell spoke highly of McQuistion’s directing abilities noting that it hardly seemed like his first time.
“It feels like Evin is already a pro and that he’s done this before, because this was really well put together,” said Mitchell.
Ryan Stapleton, who played the role of Jaspar, also spoke very highly of McQuistion.
“Evin (McQuistion) is my best friend, so it was interesting to transition from that relationship to the actor/director relationship, but I thought he did a great job,” said Stapleton.
More information about Patchwork Players productions is on their Facebook page: ETSU Patchwork Players.