A Crow’s Theatre and Segal Centre for Performing Arts Production
In partnership with 2b Theatre Company
We Are Not Alone
Written & Performed by Damien Atkins
Do you believe in UFOs? Aliens? Government conspiracies? Join Damien Atkins in his return to Edmonton as he puts himself through a quest for truth. This personal story takes us to Roswell, New Mexico, The International UFO Congress, and in search of inter-dimensional portals in the Arizona desert. Through Damien’s hilarious and honest portrayal, we are introduced to individuals all around North America who want their stories to be heard and believed.
Featuring: Damien Atkins
Directors: Chris Abraham & Christian Barry
Associate Director: Andrew Kushnir
Design Consultant: Julie Fox
Lighting Designer: Kimberly Purtell
Sound Design: Thomas Ryder Payne in association with Dylan Green, Peter Balov, and Christian Barry
Stage Manager: Kate Porter
Production Manager: Daniel Oulton
Apprentice Production Manager: Jenna Harris
A NOTE FROM CO-DIRECTOR CHRISTIAN BARRY
When I was invited to co-direct WE ARE NOT ALONE, it was a no-brainer — the project had a dream team and a central question that invites deep thought, investigation, and debate: Are we alone in the universe?
As I began to wade into the unknown, the discoveries were rich and varied.
And it turns out, it wasn’t just the brilliant people on the team that I already knew that made it a rich and satisfying pursuit, but even more so it was the people that I didn’t know; the strangers I encountered. As we researched and went to conferences, it was the strange, crazy, unbelievable people and ideas were the most interesting and the most challenging.
This search for the truth took us far beyond the theatre walls: Into the Arizona desert, walking and talking with abductees, psychics, and human-alien hybrids. Does that sound strange? Crazy? Unbelievable?
Welcome to the theatre. We look forward to sharing our story with you, and introducing you to the extraordinary people we met.
Enjoy the Experience.
“Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps intelligent life might be watching these lights of ours, aware of what they mean. Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos, unseen beacons announcing that, here on one rock, the universe discovered its existence?
Either way, there is no better question. We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.”
-Stephen Hawking (1924 – 2018)
The Truth Is Out There
A Conversation With Damien Atkins
The play does a lot of things. It explores history, your struggles as an artist, your discoveries of interesting people… when did you know that the play was going to more about you than say, a fictional “traditional” play?
I think there’s a lot of plays out there now where the writer’s exploration into the topic is depicted in the actually unfolding or narrative of the play. The Pulitzer Prize winning play I Am My Own Wife is a good example. Sometimes it’s best to be completely honest about your preconceptions and learning as you research a play – sometimes it’s the best way to give an audience an avatar or way-in to the story. This is the intent, much more than the presumed thrill of depicting oneself onstage – believe me I don’t get any special thrill from playing myself onstage. Usually the thrill of acting for me is playing someone else.
Why do you think so many writers want to write about UFOs and extra-terrestrials?
I don’t actually think that writers want to write about too much, except in a kind of genre, science fiction way. I haven’t encountered much writing about the socological significance of belief in UFO’s. Journalists certainly don’t want to write about it, in general, because it carries so much stigma.
People might roll their eyes at you when you say that the show is about UFOs and extra-terrestrials. How do you hook them back in? Or are people generally interested?
Both! People are generally interested. And there are lots of skeptics and believers in every audience. I am interested in welcoming all points of view and exploring them.
What keeps you motivated to continue exploring and sharing this story?
I think there’s lots of unexcavated prejudice and opinionating about this particular topic. And one my favourite things to do as a writer is ask provocative questions. I’m asking myself (and the audience): how can we be better people? How can we make the world better in tiny but significant ways? This play asks questions about belief and open-mindedness, and looks at ways in which it is difficult and necessary to confront our preconceived notions.
Why do you think the public is willing to hear about the possibility of life on other planets but recoils when someone suggests they have seen or come in contact with beings from another world?
Well, one of those ideas is more theoretical and the other is more personal. I understand that it’s one thing to accept or believe something in theory, and it’s another thing to confront the personal toll of such a belief. That’s a real test.
What’s something that you discovered when writing the final of version of the play that you wanted to keep in but just didn’t have room for?
The original version of the play was five hours long. There’s a LOT that I left out. Every story you hear in the play has extra dimensions to it, we just didn’t have time to include all the details.
What did you discover about “believing someone’s story” that you have been able to take into your own life?
I’ve learned to examine the decision-making paradigms that we use. We’re making great strides in society in breaking down binaries: good/evil, man/woman, right/wrong. The binary here is “do you believe?/are you a skeptic?”. The play has made me think that this binary is unhelpful and illogical. There aren’t just two options to choose from. There is a middle ground.
You grew up in St. Albert and went to Grant MacEwan – what does it mean to you to come back to Edmonton?
It means coming home. It means seeing old friends and people that inspired me. It means seeing my grandmother, who is 94 years old.
Finally, outside of theatre and the arts – what are some activities you enjoy?
I love to run. I love to go for long walks. I love to read. And I go to the movies as much as I can. I don’t watch a lot of TV – too many good books to read. But I’m trying to make my way through Veep, which is soooo goooood.
About the Play
ABOUT 2B THEATRE COMPANY
2b is a Halifax-based, internationally-acclaimed theatre company creating works for the regional, national, and international stages. Artistic co-directors Christian Barry and Anthony Black share a commitment to create, develop, and produce new work that is distinguished by innovation in staging, polish in design, and virtuosity in performance.
UFOs in Alberta?
Reports of UFO sightings, mysterious aircraft, and unexplained experiences come from all around the world but a significant number of them come from North America.
Some come even closer than you may expect…
There are over 1000 sightings within Canada alone each year with just over 100 of them happening in Alberta. Alberta ranks third in number of sightings per province.*
The Cold Lake Canadian Forces base is a common place for sightings. This is quite common – think Area 51 in New Mexico – as a lot of UFO sightings are related to military testing of new flight technology. Sightings also occur near the mountains in areas like Hinton and Edson. Southern Alberta also sees its fair share of sightings near the American border (Medicine Hat, Cardston, and Lethbridge). A significant number of sightings also occur within and around the city of Edmonton. Edmonton ranks 5th in the country for sightings in larger cities.*
One of the first ever documented cases of a crop circle occurred in Duhamel, Alberta in 1967. The circles were officially investigated and taken seriously be the military – something that become very uncommon for modern crop circle investigations.
In 1967, coinciding with many unexplained occurrences in western Canada, the world’s first UFO Landing Pad located in the town of St. Paul, Alberta was built as part of Canada’s centennial celebrations.
A UFO has yet to land on this very welcoming site.
To learn more about the many UFO sightings in Alberta and Canada visit the ufology research blog moderated by Chris Rutkowski at uforum.blogspot.com
You can also view an interactive map of sightings across North America by visit ufostalker.com
If you have seen a UFO or unexplained event here in Alberta please feel free to contact ufology researcher Chris Rutkowski at email@example.com
*credit 25 Years of Canadian UFO Reports
Believing Their Story
It’s clear that sharing a UFO sighting experience often comes with some stigma attached. In 2014 a mother and daughter in southern Alberta were convinced they saw a UFO above their ranch property but were met with backlash from fellow residents and had their account dismissed by local news coverage. Why are we so quick to disbelieve these stories?
It’s known in some circles that pilots have seen UFOs or unexplainable events in the skies but it can be potentially dangerous to share those stories. Pilots in China have been fired and lost pilot licenses for reporting mysterious sightings. No one wants to be labeled as “crazy” for reporting something unseen. This occurs in many professions including police, military, and state troopers in the United States – who may be patrolling secluded roads late at night. There is a common rule that you don’t report about unexplainable occurrences for fear that your reputation may suffer. Who knows how many more sightings could be added to the list of more professionals came forward.
“This (coming forward with a UFO sighting) is not career enhancing. Quite the opposite, it can kill careers.”
-Nick Pope, former UK Ministry of Defence
Many people have stories of UFOs, strange objects in the sky, and unexplained phenomena. Our belief in these stories is what keeps the search for truth alive.
The Scientific Approach to UFOs
MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) is a civilian run organization that formed in 1969 in response to the closing of Project Blue Book, a US Air Force Run program dedicated to researching UFO sightings and unexplained events.
MUFON uses a scientific approach when discerning whether a UFO sighting can be explained or not. The use of this method is extremely important in validating the story and the research behind UFO sightings. Their work is dedicated to believing the story first and then discerning the truth based on shared facts.
Data is collected through online reports. The parameters collected on UFO reports include: date, time, latitude, longitude, witness report, witness background and age, UFO color/shape/brightness, and directional information.
A MUFON Field Investigator then interviews the witnesses who made the report and collects additional information such as angular size, elevation, azimuth, brightness, if possible the distance to the object, and other measurable information. The Field Investigator looks for the possibility that the witness misinterpreted what was seen. Common objects that a witness may consider to be a UFO include Chinese Lanterns, aircraft, drones, astronomical objects, and light reflections.
In order to augment scientific research into the study of the UFO phenomenon, MUFON created a Science Review Board consisting of 8-9 scientists with backgrounds in electrical engineering, physics, chemistry, geology, biology, computer science, and astronomy. This group oversees science projects within MUFON and instills the use of the scientific method in the analysis of the best cases that are reported each year.*
To learn more about MUFON, their approach, researchers, and publications visit mufon.com.
You can also learn about the Canadian chapter of MUFON at mufoncanada.com
February 14 - March 3, 2019
Opening February 14
Tuesday - Saturday @ 8pm
Sundays @ 2pm
No Shows Monday
2 for 1 on February 19 & 26
CBC Talk-Back Night
w/ Adrienne Pan
Friday March 1
CAST & CREW
Playwright & Performer
Damien is an actor and playwright originally from St. Albert, Alberta and now based in Toronto, Ontario. Credits include: SOMEONE ELSE, UNIDENTIFIED HUMAN REMAINS, SHOPPING AND FUCKING (Crow’s Theatre); THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, HENRY V (Shaw Festival); UNDERCOVER (Citadel/Vertigo); ANGELS IN AMERICA (Arts Club); BEAUTY & THE BEAST, SEUSSICAL, JACOB TWO-TWO (YPT); HOSANNA, A …
Christian Barry is a multi-award winning director and theatre-maker from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Credit include: WHAT A YOUNG WIFE OUGHT TO KNOW (Crow’s Theatre & 2b Theatre), OLD STOCK: A REFUGEE LOVE STORY, THE GOD THAT COMES, HOMAGE, REVISITED, THE RUSSIAN PLAY, THE STORY OF MR. WRIGHT, EAST OF BERLIN, MAN- NERS OF DYING, and …
Andrew is a 4-time Dora Award nominee (one-time recipient), a University of Alberta grad and a Loran Scholar. Directing credits include: FREEDOM SINGER (Project: Humanity in association with Crow’s), Resident Director on THE WATERSHED (Crow’s/Porte Parole). Andrew is co-directing TOWARDS YOUTH with Chris Abraham, which premieres in February 2019 at Crow’s. He then returns to …
Julie is a teacher at The National Theatre School and as a designer has worked with many companies including: The Stratford Festival, Soulpepper, Canadian Stage, Tarragon Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times, Necessary Angel, Theatre Passe Muraille, Volcano, Segal Centre, Citadel, Theatre Junction, Manitoba Theatre Centre. Credits with Crow’s Theatre include: A&R ANGELS, THE WEDDING PARTY, …
Kimberely is a Toronto based lighting designer who works in theatre, dance, and opera. Credits include: A&R ANGELS, THE WEDDING PARTY, THE BOY IN THE MOON, THE WATERSHED (with Porte Parole), WE ARE NOT ALONE (with Segal Centre), THE SEAGULL, SOMEONE ELSE for Crow’s Theatre. Recent credits include: THE WIZARD OF OZ (Ross Petty Productions); …
Thomas Ryder Payne
Thomas is a compose and sound designer who has done designs for Stratford, Shaw, Mirvish, Soulpepper, Canadian Stage, Tarragon, Factory, TPM, YPT, Modern Times, Aluna, BIBT, Nightwood, Toronto Dance Theatre, NAC, Theatre Calgary, GCTC, RMTC and many others. Credits with Crow’s Theatre include: A&R ANGELS, BOY IN THE MOON, THE WATERSHED (with Porte Parole), THE …
Kate was born and raised in Halifax and now calls Toronto home. This is her debut with Crow’s Theatre. Other credits include: WHAT A YOUNG WIFE OUGHT TO KNOW, THE GOD THAT COMES, INVISIBLE ATOM, REVISITED (2b theatre company); WOW FACTOR: A CINDERELLA STORY, THE MAGIC VICTROLA, THE ELIXIR OF LOVE, GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG (Canadian Opera Company); …
Daniel is a Toronto based, Nova Scotia raised Stage Manager, Designer, and Production Manager. Credits include: WHAT A YOUNG WIFE OUGHT TO KNOW (Crow’s Theatre with 2b theatre); Stage Manager for MISTATIM (Red Sky); ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER (YPT); REFLECTOR (Theatre Gargantua); THE DREAM CATCHERS (Charlottetown Festival); CONSTELLATIONS, LET’S TRY THIS STANDING (Keep Good); …
Apprentice Production Manager
Jenna is a producer, arts educator, Dora nominated actor, devised theatre creator, playwright and Artist in Residence at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. This is Jenna’s debut with Crow’s Theatre. Other credit include: MIXIE and THE HALFBREEDS (Producer, fuGEN Theatre Company); KING CHARLES III (Studio 180 Theatre, Associate Producer); MINE, THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE, …
Associate Sound Designer
Peter works as a sound designer, sound engineer, and technical director in music, theatre, circus, dance, and television. A Bulgarian native, he attended university in Russia and began his career in studio recording before discovering the world of live performance. Experience includes 14 years and numerous creations with 4Dart/Michel Lemieux/Victor Pilon, including the recent BELLE …
Associate Sound Designer
An emerging Toronto area composer and sound designer, Dylan Green has recorded and toured interna- tionally as a musician with the band City and Colour. Recently, he composed music for a short lm by New York-based choreographer Cori Marquis. He also records and performs music solo as “Oswego”.
Theatre Network Podcast
Guest: Damien Atkins
Music from Josh Woodward