Lulled with a fake visa, Nadia and Borat leave their home countries behind (Moldova and Russia, respectively) and move to America, land of opportunities. Nadia says that at home, people are too poor to laugh, so they hope to bring their clowning act to people who can appreciate (and pay for) it. When they learn their visas are fake, they decide to stay in the country and move to NYC. Borat leaves the clown business to drive a taxi, while Nadia makes a few dollars selling balloon animals and entertaining people on the streets. She rents a room from Lupita, herself an immigrant, but possessing the elusive green card while working as an exotic dancer with plans of becoming an actor. Nadia and Borat separately try to make it work in the Big Apple, but without documentation, you can't ensure your employer is treating you properly, and you can't go to the police when you're attacked for fear of being deported. But with a little help from their friends, including the creepy-turned-sweet Bob, Nadia and Borat's undocumented status comes to an end, in different ways.
|Adam Gauger as Borat and Stephanie Ruas as Lupita|
The play is performed at my new favorite theater space, or perhaps my favorite new theater space, Gremlin Theatre, which just opened this summer in St. Paul and is already booked with shows by different nomadic theater companies. The intimate thrust space works well for this story, and director Melissa Simmons uses it well. The simple set includes a couch and coffee table representing Lupita and Nadia's living room, a pole for Lupita's dancing, and the cutest little Fred Flintstone taxi that Borat drives (set and prop design by Ursula K. Bowden).
Aliens with Extraordinary Skills is funny, poignant, and very timely, and deserves a bigger audience than was at the Sunday matinee I attended (which, granted, was one of the last beautiful days of the summer). I recommend checking out this sweet immigrant story, and you can make a night of it with a visit to Lake Monster Brewery right next door to Gremlin, which often has food trucks outside, and from which beer can be purchased and brought into the theater. Aliens continues through September 24, with tickets ranging from $18 to $22 and a pay-what-you-can night tonight!
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.