Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

A Klingon Christmas Carol

Last week, my friend Brian and I had the opportunity to see A Klingon Christmas Carol at the Greenhouse Theater Center in Chicago. It was fantastic. Basically, it was a retelling of the Charles Dickens classic through the lens of the fictional antagonists from the Star Trek franchise.

Did I mention that the whole play was largely done in the Klingon language? Don’t worry – there were subtitles.

I have to hand it to the Klingon actors as they are basically preforming in a completely made-up language. That cannot be an easy task to do. Acting with a foreign language is hard enough, but at least there one can have some prior exposure to it. While the Klingonese has become a fully functional language, who uses it (save for some really hard-core Trekkies)?

What I liked about this production is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. While they stay surprisingly close to the novel, all the Klingon elements are done largely tongue-in-cheek, but without going into a pure parody. I also appreciated the use of Star Trek lore within the production. It would have been easy for the playwrights to simply adapt it to Klingon and be done with it. Instead, they dropped several key Star Trek references.

For example, the line “Old Marley was dead as a doornail” was adapted into “Old Marley was dead as a red shirt.” If you are not a Star Trek fan, you’ll likely not understand. However, if you are a fan, it is hilarious. Without spoiling anything, the hands-down best use of Star Trek lore was easily their interpretation of the Ghost of Christmas Past.

Yeah, we love Star Trek. What the f*ck is it to you?

In closing, I recommend this production. Fans of Star Trek will love it. Non-fans, I think, will still be wildly entertained. The show has been running during the Christmas season for the past six years. I have little doubt it will return again (where, however, is another question). If you have the opportunity, check it out.

~N

*Note: Photo caption courtesy of Travis Probst.

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