A dangerous alien race known as the “Zygonians” landed at the Redfern Arts Center this past weekend and only reporter Molly Sloan, her assistant Timmy Mendez and librarian Ben Walcott could save the day. Austin, Texas based live action graphic novel “The Intergalactic Nemesis” premiered on the Keene State College campus Saturday, Feb. 6, and students, professors and members of the community came out to get a taste of the excitement.
Ruth Linehan, who traveled from Peterborough to see the show, said she is a “huge comic book nerd” and couldn’t wait for “The Intergalactic Nemesis.”
“I was really excited to come here. I’ve actually seen a couple live graphic novels before this so I kind of knew what to expect,” Linehan said, “It’s basically a live script and there’s voices and live actors and visuals and usually sound effects and some kind of musician on stage.”
KSC first-year Evan Carpenter said he was excited to talk about how a graphic novel was incorporated into a live show.
“It’s really neat,” Carpenter said, “I read comic books a bit as a kid, but this show is way different than just reading them.”
The Intergalactic Nemesis, which was originally adapted from a radio drama, projects comic strip panels onto a large screen over the stage while three actors perform the voices for every character. A Foley artist controls the sound effects and a pianist plays the entire soundtrack live in front of the audience.
Carpenter said he was shocked by how well all of the aspects of the performance blended together.
“I’d say they do it surprisingly smoothly, everything syncs up really well and I really like how stimulating it all is,” Carpenter said.
While the entire performance can seem over-stimulating to watch, Carpenter said he mostly enjoyed the Foley artist.
“I really think watching the Foley artist is the most interesting part. She is incredible,” Carpenter said.
Foley artist Kelly Matthews was featured in the middle of stage and conducted every sound effect heard in the show with found objects and instruments like a hard plastic shield used for thunder and large black shoes for every footstep the characters took.
KSC sophomore Heather Fougère said she saw the show advertised in the Zorn Dining Commons and couldn’t wait to experience it with her friend.
“I came along with [my friend] tonight and we’re loving the show,” Fougère said.
According to Fougère, it’s crucial for students to have opportunities like “The Intergalactic Nemesis” on campus.
“It’s really important for students to have stuff to do, especially on weekends. Shows like this are great because it gives kids something to do that isn’t necessarily partying or roaming the streets,” Fougère said.
In turn, many KSC students were able to attend.
“The Intergalactic Nemesis” also urged the audience to “respond and react,” as actor Christopher Lee Gibson announced at the beginning of the show.
KSC senior Shailagh Curran, who was working as an usher for the Redfern during the show, said she enjoyed the audience participation of the show the most.
“It’s cool how all of the effects blend together in the show and then you have the audience boo-ing for characters they don’t like and cheering for others and it really brought everyone together,” Curran said.
After the show, there was a reception in the lobby with the artists behind “The Intergalactic Nemesis”, comic books, sound-effects gadgets, posters, shirts and Zygonian slime available. The cast signed books and t-shirts for guests as well.
In the end, Fougère said she believes theatre is what brings the KSC community together.
“I love going to shows. I think it’s important that more students take advantage of the shows [at the Redfern]. They give us all something to connect with as a student body and brings us all together,” Fougère said.
Stephanie McCann can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org