Extraordinary Aliens Delivers an Entertaining Look at the Visa Process

Konstantinos Lambropoulos, Flavia Sgoifo, and Maria Markou. Photo: Courtesy of Konstantinos Lambropoulos

NEW YORK – Extraordinary Aliens, an original play directed by Greek-Italian Flavia Sgoifo and written by Sgoifo, Arianna Wellmoney, and Bianca Waechter, opened on March 15 at New York University’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò in Manhattan.

Based on true events, the play follows the journey of a stressed out alien through the immigration process. Fabianna is a foreign actress whose dream is to work in the United States. Unfortunately, dreams are a little harder to achieve when you have to worry about types of visas, deadlines, immigration fees, and an attorney who seems more messed up than most. Fabianna soon finds troubles are always around the corner, but she also might find herself not completely alone in the process.

For audience members lucky enough to be natural-born citizens of the United States, the play offers an education as well as entertainment, while those who have lived through the visa application process identified wholeheartedly with the trials and tribulations of the protagonist. The talented cast, each with her own real-life visa experience, brought an honesty and sense of humor to a serious subject. With immigration so much in the news lately, Extraordinary Aliens brings the humanity back to the issue, putting a face to the individual seeking to come to the United States to work legally, and demonstrating how complicated and stressful the process can be. The tension ratchets up throughout the play because the stakes are already high as time is running out for Fabianna to find a lawyer  who will take on her case and actually do something about it.

Arianna Wellmoney, Flavia Sgoifo, and Bianca Waechter in a scene from the show, Extraordinary Aliens. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Whimsical performances by Wellmoney and Waechter, playing multiple characters, balance out well with the hope and frustration so expertly portrayed by Sgoifo in the leading role. Sgoifo also makes her theater directing debut with the play, demonstrating yet another talent beyond her acting skills and her writing. Besides playwriting, she has also contributed to The National Herald. In following her acting dream, however, Sgoifo also found inspiration for the play. She told TNH that she came up with the idea for the play about a year and a half ago, but it wasn’t until she met Wellmoney and Waechter that the process truly got rolling. Sgoifo said it took about two weeks to write the play. Maria Markou, Sgoifo’s lawyer, was also an inspiration for one of the characters in the show and was among those present for the show’s opening, along with her husband Konstantinos Lambropoulos. At the end of the play, Sgoifo took a moment to thank all those present and especially Markou for all her efforts.

Following the performance, a conversation with the cast and immigration lawyer Nicola Tegoni offered even more insights into the play and answers to questions about the visa process. Many audience members expressed their congratulations and shared their own visa experiences. Markou shared her own experience as an immigrant and immigration lawyer noting that following what she went through, she wanted to help all those she could to achieve their American dream.

The cast and the audience also mingled during a reception which followed the Q&A session.

Extraordinary Aliens has already been accepted and will be performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019 in June.

More information is available on the play’s official website: https://www.extraordinaryalienstheplay.com/.

Bianca Waechter, Flavia Sgoifo, and Arianna Wellmoney. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
Immigration lawyer Nicola Tegoni, Arianna Wellmoney, Flavia Sgoifo, and Bianca Waechter participated in a Q&A session following the show. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
Maria Markou and husband Konstantinos Lambropoulos were among those present at the opening of Extraordinary Aliens. Photo by Eleni Sakellis