Live actors, musicians and sound effects artists perform beneath the projected art of Tim Doyle as THE INTERGALACTIC NEMESIS makes its maiden voyage to Red Bank. (Click image below to enlarge)
By TOM CHESEK
It was almost 75 years ago that a young guy named Orson Welles drove thousands of New Jerseyans into Martian-fueled panic, courtesy of a radio play called War of the Worlds using little more than a handful of actors, a busy-box of sound effects and a live mic.
Here in the jet-pack and moving-sidewalk world of 2012, we like to think were more sophisticated than that. But when the phenomenon known as The Intergalactic Nemesis touches down in New Jersey (at Red Banks own Count Basie Theatre) for the first time on January 28, it may represent the leading edge of an ongoing invasion.
Described as a live action graphic novel, Nemesis is a theatrical experience that traces its alien DNA to Flash Gordon comic strips, Victorian magic lantern shows and the lost art of the radio play, under which form the project took shape among a group of friends in Austin, Texas more than a dozen years ago.
As conceptualized by co-writer, producer and director Jason Neulander, Book One of the story (subtitled Target Earth) takes place in the pulp-magazine world of the 1930s, where an intrepid newspaper reporter remember those? by the name of Molly Sloan joins her assistant Timmy in a battle against the Zygon sludge monster invasion force. As detailed in the show, our heroes wage an epic but lonely fight that places them in encounters with an enigmatic hypnotist and a gallant, time-traveling librarian bringing them from Earthly ports of call to the Robot Planet and Imperial Zygon itself.
Through constant workshopping and fine-tuning, the slambang sci-fi story expanded into a serial stage presentation. With the addition of a companion book featuring sequential art by Tim Doyle, Nemesis mutated into a crowd-pleasing production that boasts over 1,200 projected illustrations, an original score by acclaimed composer Graham Reynolds, TWO touring units of actors, musicians and Foley sound effects artists and a couple of sequels waiting in the wings.
A native Jersey guy by way of Montvale, Neulander will NOT be making the trip to the Count’s court, but is scheduled to perform in New Orleans with a different Nemesis troupe at the same time as the Red Bank performance. Tom Chesek has a few Qs and As with the Intergalactic impresario, which you’ll find here on his blog, UpperWETside.