Austin’s “live-action graphic novel” show The Intergalactic Nemesis, which has recently toured everywhere from the Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth and the Ritz Theatre in the tiny Panhandle town of Wellington to Minneapolis and New York City, went truly national on Tuesday. The cast and crew went on the TNT show Conan, where O’Brien and Andy Richter joined them for an abbreviated performance of The Intergalactic Nemesis Book One: Target Earth.
Below, actor/writer/director Jason Neulander explains the concept: illustrations of comic-book artwork are projected behind the actors (in this case, O’Brien, Richter, Neulander, and Danu Uribe) while scenes are puncutated by a sound effects artist (Buzz Moran) and live piano accompaniment from musician and composer Graham Reynolds:
Reached by phone on Thursday just before boarding his flight from Los Angeles to Longview (where the show will be performed tonight at the Belcher Center for the Arts), Neulander said the booking was long in the works, with his agent trying to make it happen for nine months. In January, the show played in New York, resulting in an NPR story, which perked up the attention of O’Brien’s people.
“Once that happened they took it all the way up the flagpole to Conan O’Brien,” Neulander said. “He looked at the video and apparently said, ‘I want to be in it!’.”
There wasn’t much interaction with O’Brien “other than, ‘that was a lot of fun,'” Neulander said. “We had a very short rehearsal with them. Conan did a lot of interacting with Danu–they chatted a little bit.”
Indeed, O’Brien embraced his role as the scene’s romantic lead, giving the striking Uribe a comically big “meow” and “purrrrrrrrrr” before the acting started.
After the Longview performance, Neulander and company will head back home to Austin, where a “rough cut” of The Intergalactic Nemesis Book Two: Robot Planet Rising is scheduled for March 3 and 4 at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin (there’s currently a Kickstarter to help raise $3,000 for that).