BWW Review: Love Knows No Borders in Sonya Kelly's Comedy HOW TO KEEP AN ALIEN, at Corrib Theatre
Love is hard enough as it is. Add in cross-border complications, and everything -- the fear, the anxiety, the hilarity -- are all amplified. In Sonya Kelly's HOW TO KEEP AN ALIEN, now playing at Corrib Theatre, Irish Sonya falls in love with Australian Kate. The play tells their story -- a tale of two people literally going to the ends of the earth to be together. It's funny, quirky, and the perfect romantic antidote to the dreary Portland weather.
HOW TO KEEP AN ALIEN is a true story of Sonya and Kate's romance. They met while working on a play -- Sonya as a performer, Kate as the stage manager. When Kate's visa runs out, the couple embarks on a two-year adventure of documentation to prove to the immigration bureaucrats that their love is real. This involves, among other things, an ancestral journal, a love letter written on a sandwich bag, and lots of receipts carefully cataloged in an expanding file folder.
HOW TO KEEP AN ALIEN is essentially a one-woman show, which, for most of the play's life, has been performed by Kelly herself. In Corrib's production, the main character is played by Sara Hennessy, an excellent choice, not just because she looks like Kelly, but also because she perfectly captures the exhilaration and the terror of falling in love with a foreigner. I have my own alien who I decided to keep several years ago, and the play brought back many memories of excitement and apprehension. There's a second character, the stage manager (played by Amy Katrina Bryan), who's basically just there for Sonya to riff of.
Corrib's last several shows have tackled very intense subjects -- suicide, racism, the challenge of forgiveness. This one feels like a breath of fresh air, an opportunity to relax, laugh, and (spoiler alert) enjoy a happy ending.
It's spring, and if it ever stops raining, I'm sure there will be love in the air. Until then, at least you can go see HOW TO KEEP AN ALIEN.
HOW TO KEEP AN ALIEN runs through May 5. More details and tickets here.
Photo Credit: Adam Liberman