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This is a stage adaptation of the novel, not the film. (This play actually predates the film.) For information on performance rights, contact Prince Gomolvilas.

Mysterious Skin [2003]

a play by Prince Gomolvilas
based on the novel by Scott Heim


Eighteen-year-old Brian gets nosebleeds—and blackouts. New York hustler Neil gets paid for sex—with older men. Alien abductee Avalyn gets lonely—and wants her next close encounter. As the story unfolds, the characters' parallel lives come crashing together to unlock the past and to uncover the terrifying and heartbreaking truth.


"Deeply moving and riveting. The undercurrents of dangerous and wannabe humorous sexuality in both teens' stories erupt in a gripping, sad, and disturbing [scene] before the intermission. But as dramatic as that moment is, it pales beside the depth of drama Gomolvilas finds in the second part of Heim's story. Raw. Graphic. Written in fire. Bracing, poignant, and unsettlingly honest."
San Francisco Chronicle

"Gomolvilas does an impressive job of turning Heim's provocative story into an intriguing piece of theater. Graphic. Disturbing. As the audience files out of the theater into the cold night, we're left to brood about the mysterious, hopelessly insular nature of our alien, altogether terrestrial selves."
San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Prince Gomolvilas has beaten the odds by creating a play that stands on its own merits and yet captures the essence of the book. Wrenching and cathartic. Honest, emotional resonance. A considerable accomplishment."
Bay Area Reporter

"Scott Heim's acclaimed novel, Mysterious Skin, uses UFOs as both plot and metaphor in the tale of a Kansas teen trying to solve the riddle of his own alienation. And Prince Gomolvilas's worthy theatrical adaptation retains the novel's sorrowful intensity. Disturbing, forthright, and believable. The drama [is] razor-sharp and lacerating."
The Advocate

"Go see this excellent and important play! It's the best one this season!"
East Bay Voice

"Pretty damn good! Gomolvilas's keen script will challenge and surprise viewers. Neither self-indulgently experimental nor yawningly trite, neither humorlessly ironic nor embarrassingly melodramatic, Mysterious Skin is a success."

"Provocative. Confrontational. A shocker."
Talkin' Broadway

"Complex, intriguing. Gomolvilas's breaking apart of the novel's chronological structure works well; the playwright doles out information in a way that heightens the mystery but still provides all the clues for its eventual unraveling. [Mysterious Skin] forces the audience to consider complicated issues."

"The text includes moments of wry humor, yet in the end, Skin is...devastating."
Orange County Register

"Well-crafted. One of the best pieces of writing on the Fringe. This is theatre for grown-ups. Stunning."
Broadway Baby

"Heart-rending, moving, disturbing. This is a brilliant piece of theatre, bold and thought-provoking. Make sure you experience being a part of it."


"Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, Mysterious Skin is also darkly funny, a trait that adds to its humanity."

"This is a breathtaking and ultimately tear-inducing piece of theatre."
Fresh Air UK

"Controversial and brave. Powerful dialogue. Highly recommended."

"An amazing piece of absorbing drama that is causing quite a stir at this year's Fringe."
All the Festivals

"Gomolvilas's ingenious stage adaptation [is] absolutely stunning."
Stage Scene LA

"The play, with its rapid-fire dialogue exchanges, thunders along like a freight train to a grim destination. [A] profoundly tragic tale."
LA Weekly

"This difficult, haunting tale of memory, sexuality, and identity, which both despite and due to its casting focus, is fundamentally the tale of every American family."

"Mysterious Skin is lovingly adapted into a funny, difficult, moving, and distressing night of theatre that hits all the right notes of the book without compromising the harder-hitting moments that some might have found difficult to adapt. It’s a compelling piece of theatre."
Frontiers/Way Off Broadway

"This is riveting, intelligent theatre for the socially conscious."
Broadway World

"Critic's Pick! Haunting and unforgettable. Startlingly brilliant theater. Sure to stay in your thoughts—and perhaps your own nightmares—for a long time to come."

"The dialogue is steeped in a deft and hideous eloquence from which it is impossible to tear yourself away. This is without doubt theatre at its most compelling and affecting."

So So Gay Magazine

“Absolutely shocking. Packs an emotional punch that is as profound as it is unnerving. A triumph from start to finish.” 

“Dark, dramatic, and poignant. A stunning piece of contemporary theatre.”

What’s on Stage 

“A moving theatre adaptation. Thought-provoking, engrossing.” 

The Good Review 

More Press​​

Mystery Theater

San Francisco Weekly on April 30, 2003

San Francisco Chronicle on May 1, 2003

The Long, Strange Trip of "Mysterious Skin" [link forthcoming]
Bay Area Reporter on May 1, 2003

​Mysterious Ways: Interview with Playwright Prince Gomolvilas

Asia Pacific Arts on October 1, 2010​



2001 Commissioned by New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco, California

2001 NEA/TCG Residency Program for Playwrights Grant Award

2001 First draft completed


2003 World premiere production by New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco, California, directed by Arturo Catricala and featuring Rich Dymer, Rebecca Fisher, Joseph Parks, Megan Towle, and Taylor Valentine

2006 Southern California premiere production by Rude Guerrilla Theatre Company in Santa Ana, California, directed by Dave Barton and featuring Keith Bennett, Shannon Lee Blas, Ron Javier, Rick Kopps, Kerry Perdue, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Tim Zimmer

2010 Staged reading by Em-Lou Productions at The Drill Hall in London, England, directed by Peter Darney and featuring Harry Bradshaw, Rob Cavazos, Jessica Clark, Rick Kissack, and Helen Longworth

2010 Scotland premiere production by Em-Lou Productions and The Drill Hall at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland, directed by Peter Darney and featuring Rick Kissack, Leanne Rowe, Paul Standell, Danny Worters, and Myfanwy Waring

2010 Los Angeles premiere production at East West Players in Los Angeles, California, directed by Tim Dang and featuring Marcus Choi, Christine Corpuz, David Huynh, Ruffy Landayan, Elizabeth Liang, and Scott Keiji Takeda

2011 Ireland premiere production by Em-Lou Productions and The Drill Hall at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival in Dublin, Ireland, directed by Peter Darney and featuring Julie Addy, Harry Bradshaw, David Cutler, Nicole Faraday, and Oliver Walker; winner of the Micheál Mac Liammóir Award for Best Male Performance for Oliver Walker and the Eva Gore-Booth Award for Best Female Performance for Julie Addy

2011 Oregon premiere production at the Back Door Theatre in Portland, Oregon, directed by Matt Russell and featuring Beth Damiano, Jeremy Gilhausen, Christina Lark, Tavis Larsen, Montetré, Glenn Russell, Michael Teufel, and Jack Wells

2011 Limited-run London Production by Em-Lou Productions at The Drill Hall in London, England, directed by Peter Darney and featuring ​Julie Addy, Harry Bradshaw, Dave Cutler, Nicole Faraday, and Oliver Walker

2012 East Coast premiere production by Carbon Productions at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival in Orlando, Florida, directed by Jeremy Seghers and featuring ​Scottie Campbell, Olivia Horn, Emily Killian, Paul Layton, Michael Martin, Anthony Pyatt Jr., Arian Rollins, Marcie Schwalm, and Arthur Ugalde

2012 Tennessee premiere production by Kirk-Burgess Productions at the Darkhorse Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee, directed by L.T. Kirk & Jonathan Burgess and featuring ​Francine Berk, Jonathan Burgess, Will Butler, Angela Gimlin, Kory James Holden Chuck Long, Samantha Rogers, Amanda Smith, Matt Smith, Josh Stutts, and Kelsey Wilsher; winner of Nashville Theatre Awards for Best Play, Best Ensemble Performance in a Play, Best Director of a Play (L.T. Kirk & Jonathan Burgess), Best Actress in a Play (Francine Berk), and Best Featured Actress in a Play (Angela Gimlin)

2013 Manchester premiere production by Vertigo Theatre Productions at the Three Minute Theatre in Manchester, England, directed by Craig Hepworth & Adele Stanhope and featuring ​Richard Allen, Katie Burgess, James Devlin, David Lock, Steph Reynolds, and Ciara Tansey


2015 Limited-run London Production by Em-Lou Productions at King's Head Theatre in London, England, directed by Peter Darney and featuring ​Julie Addy, Nicole Faraday, Nick Hayes, Bryan Moriarty, and Ben Scarles