Live theater is not a regular topic of conversation on this blog, but A Klingon Christmas Carol is not your ordinary theatrical event. As the website describes it:
Scrooge has no honor, nor any courage. Can three ghosts help him to become the true warrior he ought to be in time to save Tiny Tim from a horrible fate? Performed in the Original Klingon with English Supertitles and narrative analysis from The Vulcan Institute of Cultural Anthropology.
That’s right. Honest to goodness theater about Klingons, performed in Klingon. How could I pass that up?
The play is staged by Commedia Beauregard, a theater company based in Minnesota that specializes in adapting foreign language plays into English. In 2007, the group began annually producing A Klingon Christmas Carol to raise money and publicity for the company. This year Commedia Beauregard set up a branch in Chicago which my gave my wife and me the chance to attend rather than merely joking about a road trip to Minneapolis. While Nerd Lunch and my Twitter feed are undoubtedly big time, expansion to Chicago also generated some other notable publicity like the front page of the Wall Street Journal and Conan O’Brien’s monologue (at the 5:00 mark).
The main arc of the story is what you might imagine, if you ever imagined Klingons in a classic Christmas story. SQuja’ (Scrooge) is an elderly Klingon who has spent his life as a cowardly money lender instead of an honorable warrior. His deceased business partner, marlI’, cannot rest until SQuja’ follows the way of the warrior. Three spirits, the Ghost of qeylIS (Kahless) Past, Ghost of qeylIS Present, and Ghost of qeylIS Future, visit SQuja’ to encourage him to change his life. Fortunately SQuja’ learns from his mistakes and he is not only able to help tImHom (Tiny Tim) survive his Rite of Ascension, but also comes to understand the true meaning of the ram nI’tay (Feast of the Long Night).
The script was clearly written by someone who knows their Star Trek. There are references to painstiks, Rura Penthe, the Ferengi, and Sto'Vo'Kor amongst others. Though the masterstroke is the Ghost of qeylIS Past who looks like he stepped out of a classic episode like The Trouble With Tribbles and “beams” from scene to scene. Genius.
Aside from transitional narration by the Vulcan anthropologist, the entire dialogue is indeed spoken in Klingon. English translations are projected onto a screen above the stage for non-Klingon speakers. On the night we attended, non-Klingon speakers made up the entire audience with the possible exception of the guy in full costume and Klingon makeup that rivaled that of the cast members.
We haven’t officially put together a Nerd Lunch Bucket List, but A Klingon Christmas Carol absolutely has to be on there. It’s as fun of a nerd themed outing as you will find. Nerds or geeks in the vicinity of Chicago or Minneapolis next December should definitely make it a part of their holiday plans.
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