Who would have thought that combining a classic Star Trek episode with outdoor theatre a la Shakespeare in the Park would be a good idea? Well, apparently siblings Amy and Adam Rosko of local theatre group Atomic Arts, that’s who. And the thing is, it’s a great idea!
There’s actually a great deal of theatricality to be found in classic Star Trek, not least of which is Shatner’s overly theatric performance, himself trained in Shakespearean acting. The plots tend to have a over-dramaticness and campiness that the bard himself would be proud of. And with the basic set design of the original series, it’s truly a wonder that no one else has thought of staging classic Star Trek as outdoor theatre.
The company is in its second year and already has a huge following in Portland. The previous year they performed Amok Time. This year’s production is Space Seed. As with the previous show, the beauty of the performance is surely in the details. From Ryan Castro’s hilarious Ricardo Montalban impression to Margaux Hash’s overly exaggerated hands as McGivers clutches onto Khan. They even have the medical decompression chamber that Kirk is trapped in! I highly recommend re-watching the episode before you go just so you can appreciate the detail that went into this production. Nate Ayling not only looks like a young James Doohan, but he actually does a much better Scottish accent.
The show plays out well, managing to embrace the kitsch and yet wink at the audience. After all, lets face it, it’ not exactly Kirk’s greatest hour. First he gives a complete stranger full access to all of the Enterprises data banks then he lets a war criminal go and settle on a planet. How’d the guy make admiral after that? In addition to Space Seed, you’ll get a hilarious preview of their planned show for next year. I won’t give it away, except to say that it’s a goodie that you won’t want to miss.
Free performances of Trek in the Park: Space Seed can be seen at Woodlawn Park, July 17-18, July 24-25 and July 31st – August 1st with performances starting at 5pm. Atomic Arts Make sure to get there at least one to two hours early. The opening weekend had at least 300 people at each performance. This is a lot of people for such a small space, and my bet is, it’s only going to get bigger!