The Winter Play – Underlying Conditions: Aliens in Suburbia

Ava Kobos

Although the fall play has just ended, the winter play is already in the works.

The theater program has fully returned, and the upcoming winter play will be Underlying Conditions: Aliens in Suburbia, directed by Peter Buonincontro and produced by Emily Stone. Underlying Conditions is a play about yoga moms, aliens, high school popularity, and more. 

The play was inspired from a number of sources. The yoga moms came from the one act Hippie Chicks by OES alum Julia Pippenger, whereas the aliens came from the book Tales of the Lost Formicans by Constance Congdon, a book about aliens doing a demonstration of human behavior. The idea of popularity and the timeframe of Underlying Conditions was inspired by Cleveland, a play by Mac Wellman, and a book called Hey There High School, which explains how to be polite and perfect in the 1950s. “He mushed them all together in his mind, so now the play is about aliens putting on a human behavior diorama… it has the teenagers from the fifties and it has the yoga moms who are all the parents, then at its heart is the grandfather, who has dementia, and he’s losing his memories and his family is trying to take care of him. So it’s kind of a tragedy too,” explained Emily. 

The fall play, Curse of the Castle Spectre, helped the theater program get back into its groove. Emily said that many of the actors in the fall play hadn’t performed in front of a live audience for a while, due to Covid. “We’ve got some recent experience that we can build on. It feels a little more fresh.” The interest in OES’s theater program has also grown since the fall play as well. The cast grew from a group of thirteen actors to twenty-three. Because the world the play is set in is bigger overall, they’re able to have more characters and even a chorus. “Having a bigger community is like a larger family, and you can meet new people… it’s from seniors to freshmen, and you make more connections than you normally would in classes,” said Kaitlyn O. ’24, who plays a character named Breezie. Emily also explained how the Juniors and Seniors have taken leadership roles in many aspects of the play, whether they’re in the stagecraft activity, the playwriting class, or performing.

Rehearsals for the play have just started, and Kaitlyn explained that they’re still in the very stages of the process, and they’re still reworking parts of the script. “From now until winter break, it’s mainly just finishing up the backbone of the show, of what we’re performing, who’s playing who, and how we’ll go along prepping.” 

The show will run from March 2nd to March 5th, so be on the lookout for future articles regarding the play’s progress.