Sick of the usual Christmas Carols that we're always subjected to this time of year? You know what I'm talking about. The Goodman Theater's production. Muppets. Mickey's. Scrooged. Not sure how you can be sick of Scrooged given the fact that it's pure awesome (it's also my favorite Christmas movie), but I digress. Commedia Beauregard has a new production at the Greenhouse Theater that should do the trick.
It's called, appropriately enough, A Klingon Christmas Carol. Star Trek fans (or Trekkers) know Klingons, but the nice part about this production is that you don't really have to know Klingon lore to appreciate it. That knowledge certainly helps, and I'm sure fanboys will enjoy this show the most, but it's not necessary. Audiences all know Dickens' Christmas Carol story by heart by now, which gives the show's creators license to deviate and play around with the set-up. In perhaps the boldest move, the show is spoken entirely in the foreign Klingon language. There are subtitles on screen, which don't prove too distracting. But yeah, you're not going to understand a word in this play.
Credit should go to the actors for learning to speak this language, for memorizing their lines, and then acting them out with conviction. It's a big cast - and all seemed genuinely invested in the material. The character names are all pretty fun to hear - for example, SQuja (for Scrooge) and QachIt (for Crachitt). Scene transitions are accomplished using "beam-up rays" (probably not the right term) via swirling red lights and sound effects. That always got a laugh. The show has a Vulcan narrator (Sara Wolfson), who comments dryly and amusingly on all the action. And, best of all, is a little puppet who plays Tiny Tim, or here: tImHom. It's a simple puppet, but his small little Klingon face is a real crowd-pleaser, and I couldn't help but be reminded of the Gelflings in The Dark Crystal.
Another plus is the fact that the show runs a brisk 1 hour and 40 minutes (with intermission). It doesn't overstay it's welcome. I had a few hang-ups with the show - mostly having to do with the minimal production design, drab costumes, and obviously small budget. A show like this deserves to be grand and operatic (it's certainly got the fight scenes that could benefit from more stage space), and instead it plays like a minor chamber piece. Perhaps if it's a success, it will have the chance to expand in those ways. But for now, the whole "let's put on a show!" independent spirit proves charming.
A Klingon Christmas Carol isn't going to rock your world. But it's a good conversation piece. And you don't have to be a Trekker to enjoy it. Now playing at the Greenhouse Theater through December 31, 2011.