Klingons Interpret Dickens With Honor

Long-running cult hit 'A Klingon Christmas Carol' finds a new home at St. Paul's Historic Mounds Theatre.

Ethan Jensen confronts his fears along with the spirits of ancient Klingon warriors as SQuja', the Klingon Scrooge.

There's not much new to be said about A Klingon Christmas Carol. It's a presentation of the Dickens holiday classic, as told in its original Klingon. (Or Klingonese, if you're Captain Koloth.) It's a play within a play, presented for your consideration by the Vulcan Institute of Cultural Anthropology and a troupe of Klingon actors who stay true to the Basai Master's original vision for this tale of redemption, rebirth and honor. 

The Vulcan Narrator (Dawn Krosnowski) provides cool, logical insight throughout this highly emotional tale.

If you're only familiar with the Earth derivative work, here's where the Klingon version differs: SQuja' is an aging money lender who's lived a life of cowardice so severe that he actually cheated his way through the Rites of Ascension and entered adulthood without having ever felt the touch of a painstick. All that changes, though, when his deceased partner marlI' shows up on the eve of the Feast of the Long Night. MarlI' also refused to fight in life, and he is now condemned to fight forever in death, wherein he'll know no victory, no rest and no honor. Three spirits of legendary Klingon warriors will follow him, hoping to teach SQuja' the true meaning of honor before he, too, is condemned to an eternal fate worse than Gre'thor.

MarlI' (Gregory Parks) returns from the dead to warn SQuja' of the honorless fate awaiting him.

SQuja is estranged from his family and haunted by the loss of his one true love, who died in glorious battle years before. It was a battle he refused to join, and she died thinking him a coward. SQuja's assistant, the honorable and loyal QachIt, has been training his youngest son to enter combat and prove his manhood during the upcoming ceremony, but tiny tImHom is not ready and his father lacks enough time off from work to train him, so it seems brave tImHom is doomed to die a warrior's death before he's ever had the chance to know real war. If only QachIt had more time...
There's a reason this show has a strong following. It's because the Dickens version we all learned in our youth via some sitcom or another translates exceedingly well into this context. It's because a cowardly old Klingon without honor is every bit as poignant as a greedy old Human with no compassion. It's because a glimpse at Tiny Tim's grim future is throat-lump-inducing in any language, and because redemption is redemption no matter how many superfluous apostrophes and uppercase letters you stick in it. You'd have to be a Romulan p'tach not to enjoy this show.
Original cast members Brian Watson-Jones, Laura Thurston and Bill Hedrick continue to be a part of the show. Thurston and Watson-Jones are still in the cast, while Hedrick designs the show's impressive prosthetics. Much of the rest of the cast has changed over the years, though, as Lana Rosario recalls.

The Spirit of Kahless Past (Lana Rosario) appears in traditional 1960s Klingon visage to guide SQuja' back through his most painful and regretful memories.

Rosario, who appears as marja' and as the Spirit of Kahless Past, first joined the production in 2009. "It was the first time we did a full run, not just one or two nights, and that was at Mixed Blood." She remembers having to be talked into the role, but she soon found that doing the show was incomparable fun.
"There was a special quality about that cast," she says, "and every year it's so different. Every year I play a different character." Rosario is the first woman to play one of the Spirits of Kahless, a character who appeared as a legendary warrior/messiah figure in the televised Star Trek universe. "It's fun that what a woman does is interpreted in a different way. Men can play the part exactly the same, and it's just interpreted differently."

"It's like I'm starting from scratch," she says, "and it's a lot of fun."

A Klingon Christmas Carol continues at the Historic Mounds Theatre, 1029 Hudson Rd, St Paul.

Purchase tickets online ($18-30)

Fri, Dec. 18 @ 7:30 pm
Sat, Dec. 19 @ 7:30 pm
Sun, Dec. 20 @ 4:30 pm
Sat, Dec. 26 @ 7:30 pm
Sun, Dec. 27 @ 4:30 pm

[Images by Bob Alberti]

Author: Rob Callahan | Category: The Arts