Portland has many things to offer; one of the largest selections of craft beers in the country, tasty, tasty foods I had never heard of before moving here, film festivals showcasing obscure films from all genres, theaters that serve beer, pizza, nachos, burgers, etc, a diverse music scene which includes a ton of bands that never came through my home state of Oklahoma, more comic creators than nearly any where in the states other than New York, and... Trek in the Park.
We are very lucky to have Atomic Arts, the theater company here in Portland that has been putting on Trek in the Park for the past three years. Much like Shakespeare in the Park, performed in most major cities around the country, Atomic Arts has taken it one nerdy step further and are performing episodes from the classic 60's Star Trek in a stage format, with props and sound effects bringing the presentation to life. And it's free!!
Star Trek: The Original Series lends itself very well to this format. The series didn't rely heavily on special effects and most settings were fairly sparse. And the crew from Atomic Arts does a smooth, seamless job of transitioning. You can tell they spend a lot of time choreographing each scene and each segue to make the production flow. They can turn the bridge into the sickbay in a matter of minutes!!
This season they are performing "Mirror, Mirror," the second season episode where Kirk and crew get transported to a parallel universe and the Federation is a force for war instead of peace. And the actors are spot on with the characters. Adam Rosko, one of the founders of Atomic Arts with his sister, Amy, plays Captain James T. Kirk to a tee with his classic pauses while speaking, his over the top acting and his unique fighting skills. You should totally see his amazing flying kick! Jesse Graff plays the stoic Vulcan, Spock, nailing his glare and stare. He makes Spock seem very powerful. Paul Pistey plays Dr. McCoy, Bones, with great emotional exuberance, as a great counterpart to Kirk and Spock, rounding out the classic Platonic triumvirate. Nate Ayling has perfected Scotty's accent. Nearly every time he speaks you can hear the crowd giggle ever so slightly at how amazing he sounds. Dana Thompson, captures all the classic 60's nuances of Lt Uhura, such as her longing gazes and quick whips of her head as she responds in shock. Ryan Castro, also does a great job of capturing Chekov's accent. "There is a wessel approaching, Captain." (He also did a phenomenal job of portraying Khan Noonien Singh last season) And Kaebel Hashitani's glares and sneers as the evil and sly Sulu rounded out this perfect cast. The rest of the supporting cast did a great job as well. You really need to see them live to capture just how great everyone performs. It is one of the best productions I have ever seen.
The sound effects and background crew are quite amazing as well. You hear the swish of the doors opening and closing, the phasers blasting, the communicators opening, all the blips and beeps of the bridge with dramatic music setting the tone. The title music is played to perfection with Margaux Hash performing the classic vocals. They really make you feel as though you are there, watching the classic TV show being made right before your eyes.
I wish I had gotten more pics from this weekend, the first performance of Mirror, Mirror, but I was pulled into the play. They are performing every Saturday and Sunday in July, 5pm, Woodlawn Park, Corner of Claremont and Oneonta in NE Portland. If you decide to go, which I think EVERYONE should, you should get there very early. Most of the good seats will be taken by 2:30/3:00. Take a blanket, some food and a few games. Make a day of it. It will be SO worth it. You won't be disappointed.
First, there is a video showing the ingenious way they portray the transport from their world to the warrior world of Mirror, Mirror. Watch the transporter beam shimmer!! (I apologize for the shaking of the cam. I was highly caffeinated!)