If it's crap ... We'll tell you
In my years of living in Austin, I’ve noticed this is city has a magnetic force which attracts very creative and talented people. I like to attribute this to our great film and music scene. One of these talented groups of people is the Old Murderhouse Theater, a group of actors who reenactment movies of the 80s and 90s. They began in Savannah, GA, but they now all reside in Austin.
In this low budget reenactments, the props, sets and costumes are made of cardboard and items you would find at any Salvation Army or Goodwill store. All these items might make the production look shoddy, but the acting and theater tricks make it all look magical. Additionally, whoever designs the sets and props with cardboard should receive some kind of award for these creations.
The Old Murderhouse Theater has previously done some great reenactments of movies like Die Hard, Back to the Future, and Robocop. Now, they want to take their reenactments to the next level by doing a reenactment of James Cameron’s Aliens in an ice skating rink. Yes! This time, the Old Murderhouse is going to face the ice. This could have been the greatest thing ever or an absolute disaster. Well, I am happy to report this is their most epic work to date.
The event took place at Chaparral Ice, a skating rink in north Austin. This is the first time I have ever been to an ice arena and only this event could get me to go to one. The show began with a great recreation of the 20th Century Fox logo and the ALIENS title card using cardboard and a flashlight. This is just the first of the clever ideas this group came up with.
The audience found themselves engulfed with anticipation as to how the group would successfully pull off each scene in Aliens. Each time they came up with a great way to reenact the scene, the audience would erupt in laughter, pulling off what was thought impossible. While the actors maintained a good pace in the ice, there were a few moments in which they did slip, proudly rising to the sound of applause .
How did the aliens look, you ask? Well, they looked quite amazing. I actually want to know how they made those aliens costumes, as I want to make one for next Halloween. The cast members playing the aliens were more experienced skaters and tt helped give them a more flexible and otherworldly movement. It also helps the aliens move fast around the poor space marines.
The Old Murderhouse Group don’t just make shot-by-shot reenactments - they also like to improve the material. During the climatic scene in which the aliens are launching their final assault on the space marines, the aliens begin to sing an impromptu musical number from Beauty and the Beast - “Be Our Guest”. It was the biggest surprise of the night. The Space marines and the aliens join in a joyous dance number. At least, until the song ended and the firefight began again, anyway.
With all the final pieces in place, it was time for the battle between Ripley and the alien queen. The Alien Queen looked amazing, but that design was surpassed by the exo-suit cargo loader. It looked like something any kid who saw Aliens would have loved to have during playtime. It moved with the help of an assistant in the back of the loader.
At the end of the play, the once clean skating ring is now full of pieces of debris, silly string everywhere and the entire place smelled of smoke. In the center, the actor and crew stood in the center of it all, proud of having accomplished such a great production. The audience rewards them with great cheer.
The Old Murderhouse Theater deserves all the positive accolades heading their way. They gave themselves a tough challenge and manage to succeed. I hope in the future they find other ways to challenge themselves in their production while still keeping the low budget qualities. If you ever find yourself in Austin and Old murder House Theater is having one of their performances, you should get a ticket as soon as possible. You’ll see some really talented people give you one of the best shows you will ever see.