Imagine a radio play from the 1930s: cheap sound effects, pulp-adventure plot, overblown dialogue, outrageous accents, perhaps a maddening cliffhanger or three. Now, transplant it to the stage. That's Jason Neulander's "Intergalactic Nemesis."
The spirit of those shoestring-budget endeavors remains intact in Neulander’s sci-fi-themed play, appearing Saturday night at the
"We shake a box of mac 'n' cheese to make the sound of a train racing down the tracks," says Neulander with a laugh. "We have this toy truck that makes the sound of whirring robot servos, and there are these big, corrugated plastic tubes that make musical notes. We use slide whistles to make the sound of jets of hot chloromethane gas coming out of the surface of the planet Zygon. Only one guy is doing it in front of a live audience."
Neulander’s play, which he began staging nationally in 2009, follows an intrepid,
"People don’t really show up expecting this," says Neulander, who conjured the idea from a childhood diet of watching
He says "Intergalactic Nemesis" also carries with it a certain nostalgia for the cheaply-produced, Great Depression-era radio programs that families listened for the sake of escapism.
"I think there's an enormous value in creating something that is pure escapism," he says. "It's about reconnecting with your own inner 12-year-old. The acting is melodramatic and over-the-top, definitely, but it's because that's how someone would act under extreme circumstances. How are you supposed to behave if you're doing battle against a Zygonian sludge monster?"