Nibbler: Accepting Who You Are As A Person

By: Danielle Desir

Written by Ken Urban, Nibbler brings a fresh sci-fi perspective to the classic coming of age tale. At the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater till March 18th, Nibbler is risqué but also strangely relatable.

James Kautz as Adam, Elizabeth Lail as Hayley, Spencer Davis Milford as Matt, Sean Patrick Monahan as Pete, Rachel Franco as Tara. Photo credit: Russ Rowland. 

James Kautz as Adam, Elizabeth Lail as Hayley, Spencer Davis Milford as Matt, Sean Patrick Monahan as Pete, Rachel Franco as Tara. Photo credit: Russ Rowland. 

Running for 95 minutes with no intermission, the play starts in 2004. It’s Christmas Eve and Adam is packing up his things before his mom’s move to Delaware. The play then quickly backtracks twelve years earlier. It’s the summer of 1992 - the summer before Bill Clinton’s election.

Matthew Lawler as Officer Dan, Rachel Franco as Tara. Photo credit: Russ Rowland

Matthew Lawler as Officer Dan, Rachel Franco as Tara. Photo credit: Russ Rowland

Set in suburban Medford, New Jersey, five best friends just graduated high school. They are optimistic and hopeful about the next chapter of their lives. They start talking about their plans for the future but it isn’t long before the cracks begin to show.

James Kautz as Adam, Elizabeth Lail as Hayley, Spencer Davis Milford as Matt, Sean Patrick Monahan as Pete, Rachel Franco as Tara. Photo credit: Russ Rowland

James Kautz as Adam, Elizabeth Lail as Hayley, Spencer Davis Milford as Matt, Sean Patrick Monahan as Pete, Rachel Franco as Tara. Photo credit: Russ Rowland

Family pressures, societal expectations, doubt and uncertainty plague the bunch. Drowning out the noise, they head to the woods to share a six-pack. There they see an alien spaceship land from outer space. As expected, they shrug it off in disbelief. They go about their lives.

James Kautz as Adam, Rachel Franco as Tara. Photo credit: Russ Rowland

James Kautz as Adam, Rachel Franco as Tara. Photo credit: Russ Rowland

Later at an abandoned house, while trying to get it on (for the first time) Matt and Haley hear a strange noise. Running towards the danger, their lives change forever. One by one, members of the group meet the “Nibbler”.

Overnight they become conservative George H. W. Bush supporters and have affairs with married men. Transitioning from adolescent to adulthood, they come face to face with grief, homophobia, sexual experimentation, anxiety and self-denial. They become all the things that they thought they hated. Some even succumb to the pressures of their families. Expect nudity and full frontals.

In many ways, the Nibbler is a catalyst for change. Instead of slowly finding themselves, the Nibbler sped up the process. Over the course of the play, you’ll watch this close group of friends quickly become strangers and frenemies.

Oddly enough, the Nibbler only targets the unsuspecting. Wanting to join the group, Adam seeks out the alien. In a panic, it decides to leave Earth.

Matthew Lawler as Officer Dan, Sean Patrick Monahan as Pete, Rachel Franco as Tara, James Kautz as Adam. Photo credit: Russ Rowland

Matthew Lawler as Officer Dan, Sean Patrick Monahan as Pete, Rachel Franco as Tara, James Kautz as Adam. Photo credit: Russ Rowland

Drawing from his own personal experience, playwright Ken Urban questions how much do we lose when we find ourselves. The play ended with a heartfelt “When You Are A Person” musical. The cast had great onstage chemistry.

Elizabeth Lail as Hayley, Spencer Davis Milford as Matt. Photo credit: Russ Rowland

Elizabeth Lail as Hayley, Spencer Davis Milford as Matt. Photo credit: Russ Rowland

Leaving the theater, I wondered if any of this ever happened. Was all of this déjà vu? Or was this a figment of Adam’s imagination? Either way, at its core, Nibbler hones in on the journey to personhood.

Because when you are a person, things are frickin’ complex!


We were invited guests to this show, however, the opinions are our own. 


YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: