Audiences had close encounters of a most unusual kind in April as our talented National Diploma in Performing Arts students staged Return to Closet Space, an exhilarating improvised piece imagining what would happen if two groups of aliens landed in search of 'the universal treasure'.
The aliens invaded the flat of an unsuspecting man, emerging from his wardrobe amid clouds of smoke when he went out. The pink group were distracted from their task and were interrupted when he returned for something he had forgotten. In their rush to escape, one of the one of them was left behind as they retreated empty handed. But then clouds of smoke heralded the arrival of the blue aliens. Guiding operations for each group was an enigmatic leader. Which group would succeed in their mission and how on earth would they manage as they didn't know what they were looking for?
In a playful and inventive devised show, the aliens examined all manner of things and their discovery of objects like irons and alcohol led to lots of observational physical comedy. This was at its most effective when it was most unpredictable as the aliens interacted with the more sophisticated trappings of modern life, like hip hop music and TV advertising. The surreal spectacle of pink people from another planet dancing to Sir Mix-A-Lot's Baby Got Back when they found the radio and the blue beings lampooning Eastenders and the Go Compare and We Buy Any Car Dot Com adverts after turning on TV was hilarious.
This fast paced and strangely compelling show highlighted the ludicrous nature of many of the things we take for granted everyday. Not noticing what is really going on around us was finally underlined by the flat dweller when he arrived home and, oblivious to the fact that two groups of aliens had created mayhem in his absence, turned on his TV and chatted on his mobile, telling the caller that nothing much had happened that day!
The fun was provided by: Matthew Ambrose, Amy Bolster, Charlie Bridge, Kim Cassangranda, Abbie Chilton, Becky Chilton, Chantelle Depass, Luke Ferrey, Charlotte Gibson, Kaytee Holdsworth, Gabby Marshall, Steven Normandale, Jamie-Lee Parker, Nakul Patel, Dominic Scott, Thomas Shearer, Kayley Spain, Melissa Steel, Amanda Walton, Abigail Wilford, Jade Wilson and Hayley Woods.
Charlie explained, “We were given the brief of aliens and everything else was our own ideas that developed as we improvised. Both the groups of aliens were really different to what you would expect and to each other, from costumes and makeup to the way they acted. Every single alien was an individual and stayed in character throughout.”
Nakul continued, “We didn’t want to do a typical performance. We all researched movies but we didn’t want to rip them off but be original and keep people guessing. Our pink group used their own language. We played round with sounds and improvised and key words and commands became set after a while. We wanted to stand out and make something people would remember for a long time. We really enjoyed it and we had very positive feedback from all the five performances.”
Abbie added, “We pretended that we had never seen things before and thought about all the possibilities of using every object. The whole idea was that everything was alien to us. Our blue group leader wore a translation device on his wrist. We became possessed by the TV and came out with all the catchphrases from TV characters and adverts. The aliens were very clever but our blue group mistook the alien that the pink group had accidentally left behind as a human, so we thought she was the treasure and took her instead.”
You can follow the plot and see highlights of this exciting performance here: