Friday, March 4, 2011

The Wrath of Khamlet

Early in February, Jessica e-mailed me to say that I should keep my schedule clear the evening of February 27.  Since I kind of enjoy surprises now and again, I made no effort to figure out where we were going, although I figured it might have something to do with the Oscars.

Cat and Girl explains the difference between nerds, geeks and dorks.

Not so much.  As we approached the Spectrum in Rosslyn, I saw a couple kids directing patrons in t-shirts with the symbol for the Klingon Empire.  Yeah, as in Star Trek.  My mind went over the possibilities...a Trek convention?  That didn't seem too likely, especially on a Sunday night.  A personal appearance by one of the cast members?

Nope.  It was the DC Shakespeare Theater Company's production of "By Any Other Name: An Evening of Shakespeare in Klingon."

Now, just the concept here is pretty cool for an unapologetic but modulated nerd such as myself.  Its origin is Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - a thinly-veiled Trek take on the collapse of the Soviet Union - where villain Christopher Plummer mid-film at a diplomatic dinner states with a flourish, "You have not truly experienced Hamlet until you have heard it performed in the original Klingon."

Apparently some Trek geeks took this not so much as a witty character-revealing script device as a challenge and ended up writing scenes from Hamlet in Klingon, the language whose author was in attendance at the event and talked about how he created it in the early '80s.

Honestly, even if you think this concept is cool, you probably don't want to watch more than a few minutes of the play in Klingon because the joke gets old quickly.  The Company broke it up well, though...only a small part of the program was the actual play, which was done with some humor...but really, how could it not be?  Stephen Fry was there too.  Here, check out the TBD review from which I stole my title!

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