When They Came

The citizens of a small town reconstruct the events of an alien relocation that did not go as hoped. The humans defend their actions, interrogate each other, and confront their deepest hopes and fears as they try to reshape the disaster into something they can live with, and ultimately find themselves transformed by it. Part story theatre, part sci-fi fantasy, this ensemble piece is based on Debbie Urbanski’s...
The citizens of a small town reconstruct the events of an alien relocation that did not go as hoped. The humans defend their actions, interrogate each other, and confront their deepest hopes and fears as they try to reshape the disaster into something they can live with, and ultimately find themselves transformed by it. Part story theatre, part sci-fi fantasy, this ensemble piece is based on Debbie Urbanski’s short story, "When They Came to Us," which was published in The Sun Magazine and appears in Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2017.
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When They Came

Recommended by

  • Skye Robinson Hillis:
    2 Mar. 2018
    This is a truly beautiful play. Moving, lyrical, strange, engaging. Like an extraterrestrial OUR TOWN. And like OUR TOWN, it packs a hell of a punch at the end. I have not read anything else quite like it.
  • Jordan Elizabeth Henry:
    2 Feb. 2018
    "We find ourselves wondering, [...] If they weren't here, would we be better people?" ---- A chilling, haunting close look at what humans are capable of doing to Others, from exoticizing them to "reprogramming" them to, ultimately, destroying them. This is the power of science fiction: it casts light on the darkest corners of our human nature. Cozzola's adaptation of Urbanski's short story is breathtaking -- grand theatricality that would work as well in a no-set black box production or with elaborate sets and costuming. WHEN THEY CAME is a truly special work of theatre that will stick with you.
  • Brian James Polak:
    31 Jan. 2018
    This is such a great play and fantastic adaptation of a short story. The play is deep, funny, wonderfully theatrical, and so relevant. It is science fiction, but don't let the arrival of space aliens fool you. This play is as much about our time and place as anything you'll see.

Character Information

  • SUZIE LUCAS
    12-ish,
    female or female-identifying
    Maria and Lucas's daughter, a 12- year-old student, and other roles (MRS. FISHER, BLUE
  • RITA
    12-ish,
    female or female-identifying
    A 12-year-old student, and other roles (DONNY'S MUELLER's MOM, REPORTER, BLUE)
  • MARIA LUCAS
    30s-40s,
    female or female-identifying
    A mother, and other roles (SCIENTIST, BLUE)
  • JOHNNY REYNOLDS
    20s-30s,
    Male or male-identifying
    Grace's son, a guitar-playing custodian, and other roles (REPORTER, BLUE)
  • JEFF
    20s-30s,
    Male
    An entrepreneur, and other roles (RITA'S MOM, BLUE)
  • ISAAC LUCAS
    30-40s,
    Male or male-identifying
    Maria's husband, a factory worker, and other roles (SCIENTIST, BLUE)
  • GRACE REYNOLDS
    50-60,
    female or female-identifying
    A widow, and other roles (TOM DURAND, BLUE)
  • DONNY MUELLER
    12-ish,
    any/nonbinary/fluid
    A 9-year-old student, and other roles (PRESIDENT, BLUE)
  • DANA FISHER
    20s-30s,
    female or female-identifying
    A schoolteacher and other roles (REPORTER, BLUE)

Development History

  • Workshop
    ,
    Piven Theatre
    ,
    2018
  • Reading
    ,
    Chicago Dramatists
    ,
    2017

Awards

Finalist
,
Todd McNerny Playwriting Award
,
2019