This Sunday, I spent the gloriously warm day — Seattle’s first consistently over 80 degrees — watching a fabulous performance by Hello Earth Productions. They performed the classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode “This Side of Paradise.” Yes, the one where Spock smiles a lot after they meet some hippies.
I was so excited to see Outdoor Trek. I’d heard about these performances (by another troupe) in Portland, and I’d actually been thinking of driving down to Portland just to see them. But Hello Earth Productions does theirs right here in Seattle at Dr. Blanche Lavizzo Park.
In fact, in my excitement, I neglected to mention to Jason what we were actually doing. He thought we were going to watch an episode with a bunch of people in a park, and he was really surprised when he saw the setup for the Enterprise’s bridge.
While “This Side of Paradise” is not one of my favorite episodes — in later TOS the hippie cultures get a little much — I was extremely excited to see this interpretation as Hello Earth Productions is comprised mostly of women. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Sulu: all women. Spock’s love interest Leila was played by a man. I’ve always loved Roddenberry’s utopian ideal of Star Trek, a world without bigotry, without gender norms and racial biases. Where Uhura wasn’t a maid or mother.
The actors did a wonderful job at creating a set that was functional, that we knew was the Enterprise and planet, but was minimal. The Redshirts doubled as a band and were an excellent musical accompaniment. I also felt like whomever made the script functional for a play did a very nice job. Overall, the show was very entertaining, and even though I was melting in the sun, I happily distracted as Kirk, Spock, Bones, and crew were squirted with silly string, I mean, alien flower spores that turned them into automaton hippies.
Kids, even in the 23rd century, don’t do drugs.
Kris Hambrick’s Kirk was great. Her Shatner-esque movements worked wonderfully. Helen Parson’s Spock was pretty adorable. But I think that Julia Buck’s McCoy really stole the show for me. Buck’s mannerisms, articulations, mint julep drinking, and great acting brought out the comedy in the episode. And I loved Buck’s post about playing McCoy. Better beware, Karl Urban, Buck might snag your role in the Star Trek reboot franchise.
Outdoor Trek is definitely worth attending. Hello Earth Productions is putting on four more shows in the next two weeks. Check them out. And go see them!