Alien Production (Ticket 12/11)

Mark Schmidt, playing Jim, gets his memory erased by aliens in “Tales of the Lost Formicans” Tuesday at Clovis Community College. Aliens, from left, are played by Mary Ann Prior, Criselda Leal, Edward Anton Yankovich, and Caleb Mark Brandon.

By Helena Rodriguez

What do aliens, The American Dream, Alzheimer’s Disease and a dysfunctional family have in common? Probably nothing, unless you’re talking about “Tales of the Lost Formicans.”
“Tales of the Lost Formicans” is a tragic comedy play coming to the Clovis Community College stage this weekend for a three-day run.
Written by Constance Congdon and directed by CCC’s Christy Mendoza, the outlandish play is narrated by a group of alien archeologists who begin to act like humans and attempt to recreate civilization on earth, mostly through junk humans have left behind.
“This play is very unusual. I’ve never encountered one like this,” said Caleb Brandon, a CCC student who plays the role of Jerry, the only human character in the play.
“The way the author wrote the play, from my perception, is that she wrote it with the idea that the audience are actually other aliens who are watching these aliens put on a play from where they’ve been.”
Brandon is one of three CCC students nominated for the Irene Ryan Award when the CCC theater group presented “Tales of the Lost Formicans” at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region VI Competition in Edmond, Okla., in November.
Other cast members, Jennifer Diane Johnson and Mark Schmidt, were also nominated for this award named after the woman who played Granny in “The Beverly Hillbillies.” The three will advance to a regional competition for the award, which will be held in Arkansas this spring.
Brandon said their performance of “Tale of the Lost Formicans” garnered the CCC theater group a lot of laughs as well as a standing ovation in Oklahoma.
Mendoza describes the play as “a tragic comedy about The American Dream, Alzheimer’s Disease, aliens and other subjects too horrible not to laugh at.”
In the play, Mendoza said the aliens are actually sympathetic toward human beings and present things as they see it happen. Amidst all of the chaos, however, there is also some serious discussions people will probably be able to identify with.
“I believe the play does have a message and a very interesting explanation for Alzheimer’s,” Mendoza said. “It kind of shows what it must be like for somebody who has it. When the author wrote the play, she was going through a divorce and was going home to help her mom take care of her dad, who was showing the first signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.”
The craziness of the play, according to Mendoza, is that one minute an alien will be talking to you, and the very next minute it will be acting like a human baby, and then in the next scene doing it all backwards.
“The play is also full of naked aliens,” Mendoza pointed out. “There’s a scene in the play where a couple of actors have to take off part of their clothing, but we did it in other creative ways.”
The “Tales of the Lost Formicans” is for mature audiences only.
Other cast members include Mary Ann Prior, Edward Yankovich, Cathy Olguin, Peter Boveington, Crissy Leal, Iris Dunbar and Melissa Marte.