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Theater | Theater Review

Green 'Alien' Navigates New Life on Earth

November 09, 2000|JANA J. MONJI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It isn't easy being green. But in Stuart Spencer's gentle comedy "Resident Alien," produced by the Quantum Theatre Company at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre, one such hued being finds bad bar lighting and dark nights can disguise this "race" issue, at least for a time.

Spencer's theme of two misfits misplaced in the universe isn't really original--one character even mentions a certain "Star Trek" episode with the same basic plot. The self-denigrating humor can also be seen in director Eric Baldwin's set design, which leans toward the hokey (the faux wood paneling isn't meant to look real).

What makes this alien outing a whimsical evening of entertainment is Troy Blendell's extraterrestrial. He's pale green with a puckish sense of humor and a slight sense of smugness. He may be a lowly busboy, but his people have mastered intergalactic travel.

This friendly alien goes AWOL, when his ship abducts young Billy (Timothy Mittel). Billy's father, Michael (Michael Ordona), the small-town intellectual oddball, witnesses the abduction and grudgingly befriends this E.T. Michael's ex-wife, the domineering Priscilla (Melanie Hermann), doesn't believe Michael's story. Her husband, good old boy Ray (David Rutter), humors her so that he won't have to cancel his fishing trip.

Baldwin's direction could use more snap to move this somewhat predictable tale along. Hermann's strident, worried mother easily softens under the calming influence of the alien. Spencer's script insinuates that she just needed the right man, and he doesn't even have to be human.

Though the script tends to meander--which Baldwin's leisurely pace amplifies--Blendell's sweetly smiling, bemused alien helps lift this earthbound vehicle.

* "Resident Alien," Whitmore-Lindley Theatre, 11006 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Ends Dec. 10. $10-$12. (818) 902-0588. Running time: 2 hours.

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