The Life Unwired with Ben Combee (unwiredben) wrote,
The Life Unwired with Ben Combee

Why No One Has Gone Before

Last night, I headed down to the Hideout to see their production of "Start Trekkin'", an all-improvised long-form episode of classic Star Trek. This is the current major production of the Heroes of Comedy, the improv troupe from which I took my level 1 class earlier this year, and I had a free ticket to a production to use.

They've done a good job with costumes and their reconfigurable set. Of course, Trek purists will complain that while the show isn't about the starship Enterprise, the crew is wearing shirts with the classic Trek two-legged delta symbol, since in that time era, each ship had its own insignia, but you won't find me complaining loudly online. The main stage was decorated with science panels along the back wall, and they had a captain's chair and chairs for the navigator and helmsman. A clothesline across the stage and a couple of backdrops allowed them to quickly turn the set into "generic planet" or "generic formal location".

The episode from last night, generated from a set of audience contributions, revolved around the Starship Antarctica, heading to the Romulan neutral zone to conduct secret negotiations with the Space Trader Conglomerate. The crew consisted of the captain, William Duncan; science officer Mordock/Bordock (depending on who was talking to him) and his daughter, junior helmsman Becky; chief engineer Reynolds, who has a crush on communications officer Beverly; Tchaikovsky, the navigator who is going to die is six days; and the mysterious Ambassador TuTu, a Frenchman with an agenda.

Well, most of the crew members also did double work as Space Traders, and over the could of the 70 minute presentation, we found out that Mordock was an orphan that lived with the Traders, that the Traders were led by a manic bad guy called Bubb, that they'd made their own transporter out of an ancient Geiger counter, and that they had a plan to take over the Antarctica to get its freon so they could save their planet from global warming. They had a variety of props, wigs, and costumes to let the cast change from their primary roles to their other characters; it was particularly effective when a bridge scene involved the "backup" crew that takes over when all the important people beam to the planet. I did like their transporter effect, which mainly involved some spotlights and a lot of knob twisting.

I laughed a lot during the performance, but there's plenty of room for improvement. The actors didn't always do the best job of remembering character names or keeping consistency with what had been established. There were a couple of crack-up moments. The blackouts to change scenes were often timed poorly. On the other hand, I really enjoyed myself, and I saw a theater production that will never be repeated.

Start Trekkin' plays at the Hideout every Saturday night at 9PM through May 22nd. Tickets are $10 at the door, and if you're a fan of Star Trek, I think you'll probably have a blast. However, I'll spare you from the obligatory "Set Phasers to Fun!" joke that ends lame Trek-related reviews so often.
Tags: theater
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