Outdoor Trek: This Side of Paradise

Outdoor Trek This Side of Paradise
Long time IGP readers will remember that I’m already a huge fan of Atomic Arts summer productions of Trek in the Park. I was especially bummed out this year since I moved to Seattle, and won’t be able to make it down for one of my all-time favourites, “Mirror, Mirror.” Never fear though, because inspired by the guys over at Atomic Arts, Hello Earth Productions have taken it upon themselves to create Outdoor Trek, performing a classic Star Trek episode in the park, right here in the Emerald City. And, I gotta say, I loved it!

Outdoor Trek is currently only in its second year. According to the show’s director, they were originally planning on doing “The Devil in the Dark”, but ended up changing to “This Side of Paradise.” Yep. The one where Spock gets hit by flower spores that make him happy. And honestly, it was a really fun performance.

The hippy aspects of the episode were played out perfectly, with a knowing wink to the audience. At one point, they even had the cast tossing out groovy flower petals to people. This being a free theatrical show, the staging and props were limited, but the production made clever use of what props they had. For instance, the use of painted hula hoops with ribbons attached made a fun way to recreate the transporter technology.
Outdoor Trek This Side of Paradise
The entire cast were amazing, in particular, the actors that portrayed Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy (Kris Hambrick, Helen Parson and Julia Buck). Elephant in the room, they are indeed women. This isn’t mere gender-bending, mind. The script hasn’t been changed to make Spock a woman, or anything. Instead, the production employed blind casting, finding the person that played the part the best, versus just looking the part. And speaking as an actress myself, I applaud any company that chooses this process of casting.

In addition to the amazing actors were an equally fantastic band who not only provided theme music and music during the “episode” but also portrayed red shirts as well as doing a groovy musical number as most of the Enterprise become infected by the happy-spores.

You can check out the free performances of Outdoor Trek: This Side of Paradise at Dr. Blanche Lavizzo Park, July 30 & 31st as well as August 6&7th. Saturday performances begin at 7PM and Sunday shows are matinees beginning at 2PM. The seating filled up pretty good at the Sunday production that we went to and I imagine as word gets out, it’s only going to get bigger, so come early!!