A Klingon Christmas Carol
Geeks A Gogo stopped by the Edge Theater in Chicago last night for a special showing of A Klingon Christmas Carol. This play, as one might guess is a re-telling of the classic Charles Dickens story "A Christmas Carol", but adapted to the society of the Klingons--the popular race of fictional aliens from Star Trek. For those unfamiliar with Star Trek, there is an actual artificial Klingon language--and this play is performed almost entirely in that language! But, not to worry, the story is subtitled, with an English translation projected above the stage for the non-Klingon speakers in the audience.
About the story itself, it's an adaptation that has been re-imagined as a tale told by Klingons. But don't take our word for it, the Vulcan narrator will walk you through it. This version of the tale differs in that it all has a Klingon flavor to it. Scrooge has become SQuja', Crachet is QachIt, and Jacob Marley has become MarlI'. Instead of Christmas, the Klingons are celebrating the Feast of the Long Night, the Klingon celebration of their planet's winter solstice. One of the most clever changes is that instead of being visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, SQuja' is visited by the ghosts of Kahless past, present, and future. That bit of clever writing alone fact alone should make any Star Trek fan want to run out and see this show.
The story sees some changes from the original. Where Dickens' tale saw Scrooge's redemption come through his rejection of his old, miserly ways, SQuja', lacks desirable qualities of a Klingon--bravery, honor, selflessness. His redemption must come through showing courage, seeking glory, and showing reverence for the great Klingon empire. The play does a great job of bringing Klingon culture to life with celebratory festivals that include competitive fighting and washing down live gagh with blood wine. Even those with no prior knowledge of Star Trek can appreciate the detail. Anyone can enjoy the action, including several Bat'leth duels.
As for the performances, the lead an ensemble were simply amazing. The acting was overall intense and forceful, and entirely appropriate in that it matched everything that we're lead to believe about Klingons from the Star Trek source material. The set design, costuming, and makeup all really invoke the feel of the Klingons as we know them from Star Trek the Next Generation. Once you come back to Earth, you'll wonder how the actors are able to spend an hour and a half reciting lines in an unfamiliar language, particularly Anthony Bunnell, who is returning in this year's as SQuja', and has lines throughout the play. We managed to speak to some of the actors after the show--and I must admit it was a bit jarring hearing them speak in English after seeing their performance in Klingon.
Overall, this is an amazing holiday show if you're a geek. I highly recommend it even if you enjoy Star Trek or science fiction even in some small way. Even if you appreciate good theater, this is worth seeing as an example of clever play writing and incredible performance. This show is playing at the Edge Theater in Chicago from Nov 29th-Dec 16th 2018, and you can get tickets by following this link.