July 11th, 2009

djonn: (butterfly)

I went on a spur-of-the-moment outing this afternoon.

I was already out and about, my critique group having broken up earlier than usual, and had seen a note on one of my local email lists just before heading out the door promoting an event called Trek in the Park.  Just as various local acting companies stage Shakespeare plays in local parks over the summer, a new troupe had worked up a live version of the original-series Star Trek episode "Amok Time".

They drew a good-sized audience -- I'd guesstimate the crowd at maybe 200, give or take -- and put on a thoroughly credible show.  On one hand, this isn't Equity-level theater by any means, and nobody gets a lot of stage time in a 48-minute play with an ensemble cast.  But the performances were sincere and generally effective, with good work in particular on Spock and T'Pau.  The technical work was nicely done, with good use of original music and audio and an excellent makeup job on Spock.  And the fight choreography was extremely well done. 

The audience, clearly very familiar with the material, tended to undercut some of the intensity of the original episode.  I hesitate to call the frequent laughter inappropriate, because it's hard to suppress amusement at some of the innately cheesier or more dated aspects of the original series at this late date -- and the actors, though they're playing the material entirely straight, were clearly prepared for this sort of reaction.    But I think the staging is sturdy enough that, given the chance, they can get much closer to that intensity than they were allowed to do in the opening performance I saw. 

I hope they get the chance, and I definitely recommend the outing to anyone in reasonable commuting distance.  The production will run again tomorrow (as I post this) and again on Saturday and Sunday for two more weekends, in Portland's Woodlawn Park (near NE 13th & Dekum streets).

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