2 December 2010

A Klingon Christmas Carol

It had to happen at some point.  The first play to ever be produced in the language of the Klingons, A Klingon Christmas Carol began its performances in Chicago recently.  Scrooge of course is the central character and to begin with, he has no honor and no courage. What better way to start a great and noble story of a warrior's redemption?

Yet Tiny Tim awaits a horrible fate if Scrooge does not recover both his honor and his courage.  Scrooge is visited by three spirits, no doubt from Gre'Thor (the Klingon version of Hell) and these spirits must help him to become a true warrior in time to save the day – and Tiny Tim too!  As an asidem it looks like young Tim might be represented here by a ventriloquist's dummy. Perhaps the child actor has been eaten by the rest of the cast with their Gagh and Chech'tluth.

The production is by Commedia Beauregard who have somehow seamlessly merged the Victorian morality tale beloved by millions and the warrior culture of Star Trek’s best warrior race – also beloved by millions.  In fact they must be on to a win-win situation here.

If the thought of watching this Christmas treat through not only a foreign but an alien language leaves you cold then fear not – supertitles are provided throughout.   We’re not sure what they are but we are making a (probably good) guess that instead of below the action the translation will be seen above it.

What you will get is a great story - certainly worthy of entering the millennia old Klingon oral tradition.  It is almost certain that Klingons respect the works of Dickens.  After all, some of his novels take as long to read as it does to listen to a Klingon opera in its entirety so the two go hand in hand perfectly.

This is a strange and unlikely theatrical hit (having played already in Saint Paul in Minnesota) but has earned itself a following for its sheer bravura if not the cultural icons to which it pays homage.  The narrative analysis of the play comes, incidentally, from The Vulcan Institute of Cultural Anthropology.  We so wish we were in the windy city!

Who can say what will be the next masterpiece of the English language to be translated in to tlhIngan Hol.  Possibly Heart of Darkness?  Or maybe even The Godfather?  Either way, hats off to the people at Commedia Beauregard for a very seasonal alternative to pantomime.

One can only wonder what the Doctor Who team are thinking at the moment.  This year’s DW Christmas Special starring Matt Smith as the eponymous Timelord is their own take on the Dickens short story.  The Klingons have, it seems, rather stolen their thunder.

The show is running all the way through to December 19 at the Greenhouse Theater in Chicago.

Here is the promo video for the show. Commedia Beauregard can be found by clicking the link on its name.