It’s the ultimate week of the Auckland Delight Competition. With the competition turning out some wonderful theatre this 12 months, In regards to the UFO Sighting Outdoors Mt Roskill is one I’m glad I didn’t miss. Reon Bell offers an enthralling and totally entertaining efficiency on this solo act as Dana, a younger, closeted homosexual man within the 80s who has an rising perception in aliens. The story begins out by steeping us in sci-fi mythoi as scenes from Physician Who and Star Trek are projected on a big display, placing mankind’s exploration of the universe, and ourselves, into the foreground, earlier than taking us to a tiny desk at an insurance coverage firm in Mt Roskill.
The comedy is grounded in an Workplace Area-esque journey of Dana’s office routine, which is disrupted with Dana’s fixed preoccupation with science fiction in all its ephemeral qualities. However the two issues collectively in the end brings the present into its personal distinctive world. By way of using music, lighting and a projector display, the world grows as we’re taken to a number of areas in and round Mt Roskill. The completely different media are used significantly properly on this approach. The set is dressed merely because of this, because the present leans into utilizing sound, visuals, and recordings to inform the story. Director Sean Dioneda Rivera skillfully pulls all the weather collectively, retaining an brisk tempo and with transitions. On the entire, the technical components of the present are fantastically crafted.
As we transfer between the assorted components of Dana’s world, there are indicators peppered all through that Dana has not come out as homosexual. It sits uneasily within the background, and on the similar time, so does the burgeoning risk of alien abduction. Generally, the theatrics would overshadow the moments when the insidious alien presence made itself identified, nevertheless, that journey finds readability because it continues.
In between dancing to Cut up Enz in your bed room, watching Patrick Stewart be iconic as Jean-Luc Picard, the nostalgia hits laborious. By setting a narrative up to now, the identification of the period is emphasised as it’s recreated by emblematic music and tv exhibits. These cultural artifacts are a big a part of who Dana is, and the place his identification as a Trekkie is established, his identification as a homosexual man, in contrast, is underexplored. Scenes in moody lighting of unrequited needs and emotions in nightclubs comply with. These are instances the temper turns into extra emotional as we get a glimpse into Dana’s inside world.
A few of the references soar slightly additional forward in time to the early nineties. The properly beloved theme music of Twin Peaks evokes a vibe of the paranormal and morbidity – humorous how the theme of repressed identification usually runs alongside the morbid. As soon as once more because the sci-fi world collides with Dana’s interior self, the present arrives at a satisfying second the place recordings and dwell theatre culminate to a intelligent sequence. Finally, Dana’s easy existence as an workplace employee is elevated right into a world of science fiction and Dana has to face questions on his personal existence. I believe a real love of science fiction comes by at this level, as questions usually posed by sci-fi tales are spoken by the phrases of Picard and Kirk, about existence and which means in life (I believe moderately than the meaning-of-life). The alien encounter goes on slightly too lengthy at instances because the tempo is gradual and on the identical be aware. I believe if expanded on, the expertise could possibly be extra rewarding for the viewers. Nonetheless, it gives house for us to discover that world of concepts.
I discovered the present to be an exquisite orchestration of theatrical components. The sound and music have been explicit highlights, as was the 80s nostalgia and foray into self-acceptance explored by science fiction. The present is enjoyable, at instances feeling like I used to be on a musical street journey by Mt Roskill. The efficiency is charming, partaking, and at moments, sincere and touching. I’d suggest getting in additional theatre earlier than the Delight season is over.
Concerning the UFO Sighting Outside Mt Roskill performs Basement Theatre 21-Twenty fifth February 2023 as a part of Auckland Delight.
This assessment is a part of the Auckland Delight Evaluate Challenge – a collaborative mission between 4 native publications (The Pantograph Punch, Bad Apple Gay, Rat World and Theatre Scenes) to supply extra important discourse round queer theatre and efficiency work. We might be reviewing a variety of exhibits all through the month of Delight – so maintain a glance out and go help our native queer performers!