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Review: World Premiere of ANOMALOUS EXPERIENCE at The Midnight Company At .Zack

A Modern Day Ghost Story

Review: World Premiere of ANOMALOUS EXPERIENCE at The Midnight Company At .Zack

Joe Hanrahan's original play ANOMALOUS EXPERIENCE opened on Thursday, May 5th in its world premiere at .ZACK Theater. Produced by The Midnight Company and directed by Morgan Maul-Smith, ANOMALOUS EXPERIENCE examines two patients, in a clinical psychiatric lecture format, who claim to have been abducted by aliens. It is a dialogue driven script with believable stories thanks to the authentic performances of Joe Hanrahan, Payton Gillam and Joseph Garner.

The play opens with a respected psychiatrist lecturing about alien abductions. Doctor James Collins, played by Joe Hanrahan, has come under professional skepticism and ridicule for his research into the abduction phenomenon. While he's not exactly sure what is going on, the psychiatrist is convinced that something happened to these patients. Hanrahan's initial delivery is laced with an unconfident nervousness. It quickly becomes evident that this is an acting choice to convey the clinician's ambivalence in presenting a topic that has put his clinical reputation into question. Hanrahan, and the other two actors portraying the patients/subjects, disappear into their role and the audience is transported to an actual scientific lecture. The genuineness of the performances provides such realism that you quickly forget you're in the theater and not at an actual academic and scientific lecture.

Payton Gilliam, plays Virginia, a young married woman who seems to have a peaceful calm about her experience with alien abduction. She is mentally balanced and measured in her delivery as she conveys her experience with her multiple interactions with aliens. At no point during her portrayal do you think you are watching a performance. It is not until the 'video' of her hypnotic regression session that you realize that her experience was not completely peaceful. She is a credible character that makes you believe that an alien abduction has occurred.

Joseph Garner's performance as Scott steals the show. His eccentricities, tics and physical acting choices are reminiscent of Ben Platt's Tony Award winning performance in DEAR EVAN HANSEN. Garner's Scott seems to be affected by cognitive intrusions and confabulations. His delivery is animated and outlandish. The review of his hypnotic regression sessions is sexual, emotional and spellbinding. His portrayal is exactly the type of unbalanced that you would expect from a person who claims to be abducted by aliens. His performance is nothing short of amazing.

Hanrahan's script is a masterpiece. He has taken a supernatural topic and written dialogue that makes it plausible and believable. This is a script that needs attention and needs to reach a much broader audience. This is a play that could have a potential long run on Broadway. It is 80-minutes of attention-grabbing supernatural fun that goes by in mere seconds. His script has made me a Hanrahan fan.

ANOMOLUS EXPERIENCE, billed as a modern ghost story, plays at .ZACK Theater through May 21, 2022. for more information visit MidnightCompany.com


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