Saturday Night Live star Cecily Strong headlines a new production of Janet Wagner's The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe at The Shed. The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe tickets will be available on New York Theatre Guide soon.
The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe is a play in which the sole actress plays 12 characters without changing costume. The actress, dressed the whole time in a simple white blouse and black pants, shares vignettes of these various women's lives. They appear unconnected at first, but later unite under the persona of the narrator, the "bag lady" Trudy, who is explaining the ever-changing state of Earth for the outer-space aliens she has recently befriended. Some of the other characters include runaway teenager Agnus Angst; disillusioned grandparents Lud and Marie; and Lyn, Edie and Marge, friends from the beginning of the women's movement whose goals have changed. By way of these stories, Wagner examines the female experience over the course of a generation and gives a truncated history of the feminist movement.
Wagner wrote The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe for Lily Tomlin, who made the role and the play famous when she headlined the Broadway premiere. Tomlin won a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award, and she performed for the show's yearlong run. Tomlin also starred in the play's 1991 film adaptation and 2000 Broadway revival.
For The Shed's new production, Tomlin steps into a producing role, and Cecily Strong takes the reins as Trudy and the rest in her New York stage debut. She has built her career as a comedian and is known chiefly for her impressions of celebrities and her two-time Emmy-nominated work on Saturday Night Live, on which she has performed since 2012. She has also performed in multiple comedy shows on the Chicago stage at venues such as the Goodman Theater, the Bailiwick Theater, and Second City, as well as at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
Tony-nominated director Leigh Silverman helms The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe at The Shed.
Tickets to The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe will be available soon.
Poster photo by Tina Tyrell, illustration by Sally Thurer.