Entertainment & Arts

US school's Alien play impresses Hollywood insiders

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A US high school's elaborate production of the 1979 science fiction film Alien has been praised by Hollywood stars.

North Bergen High School, in New Jersey, staged the play on 19 and 22 March.

Scenes from the show have gone viral with stars, including Lord of the Rings actor Elijah Wood, expressing amazement at the production's costumes and sets.

All the online attention has led the North Bergen mayor to offer to fund more performances of the play.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The cast of the 1979 film Alien (left to right: John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean Stanton)

Ridley Scott's film is about the crew of the mining spaceship Nostromo, who are gradually hunted down by a vicious alien.

It made a star of Sigourney Weaver, who played warrant officer Ellen Ripley and launched a film franchise that is still going 40 years later.

English teacher Perfecto Cuervo adapted the play for the school's drama club from the film's screenplay.

Cuervo also filmed a trailer for Alien: The Play, which was released online ahead of opening night.

The students created the alien and space suit costumes, as well as sets that included airlock doors with moving parts and the so-called "space jockey" - the lone pilot of a derelict spaceship, which the Nostromo crew investigates.

One student, who posted a thread about the play on Reddit, shared details of how some scenes - such as the iconic chest-burster scene - were staged.

In the scene, an alien bursts out of one actor's chest, while the crew are sitting down to dinner. The student says "someone was underneath the table with a hand puppet" to achieve the effect.

The detailed sets and costumes have impressed many social media users, who have shared scenes from the play.

Comedian Paul Scheer, who played Stevie in the award-winning political comedy Veep, posted a series of tweets about the play, concluding that he'd like to see it open on Broadway.

The governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, congratulated the school on an "out of this world" performance.

The students' efforts were also praised on the official Alien Twitter account.

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