Having just returned from the Milan Film Festival where she won the Best Director award for her 2010 feature Matching Jack, seasoned Australian stage and screen director Nadia Tass comes back down to earth this week as the deceptively unassuming play The Aliens opens in the relatively intimate confines of Red Stitch.

Italian glamour it ain’t, but as Tass told the Star Observer, she couldn’t pass up the chance to direct this tale of Gen-X ennui in small-town America.

“Plays in general now have reached that point where everything is frenetic and frenzied entertainment.

“The good thing about The Aliens is that [writer] Annie Baker’s not doing that. She’s created something that’s incredibly naturalistic and almost in real time. Will it suit everybody? Probably not,” she laughed.

“But it certainly suits me at this phase in my life. I’m really enjoying working with the pauses, the silences and the punctuated moments of importance.”

The Beckettesque action (or lack thereof) takes place next to a dumpster behind a coffee shop, as a pair of overintelligent friends kill time, avoiding the future by reminiscing about the past. They strike up a connection with an impressionable young employee from the shop, revelling in the attention from their new disciple.

“We explore the lives of these three very different characters. We watch the two gifted thirtysomethings not fit into society and not contribute. These two people do have something to offer the world, but due to circumstances, they’ve come to a point where they’re both rejects,” Tass said.

“It’ll stay with you — if it doesn’t, I haven’t done my job.”

INFO: The Aliens, Red Stitch, August 24 – September 24. www.redstitch.net

The Aliens – Red Stitch Actors Theatre from storybottle on Vimeo.

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