Scrooge has wrinkles, but they aren't from age. And, they are mostly on his forehead! Commedia Beauregard, a Saint Paul-based theater company dedicated to producing plays that have been translated from one language to another, normally focuses taking foreign-language plays and presenting them in English. However, on Saturday, December 8, they will be presenting their first work to be translated from English into another tongue at the University of Minnesota's Saint Paul Student Center Theater, located at 2017 Buford Avenue. As part of their annual holiday fundraiser, the group adapted and translated Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" into a language that was invented for a television series.
"tlhIngan Hol is a fully functional language," says Commedia Beauregard Artistic Director Christopher O. Kidder. "The play will be presented almost entirely in the Klingon tongue, while English supertitles will be projected for the benefit of the audience members who don't speak the language of the play." The Klingon language was invented by Marc Okrand, a philologist hired by the producers of the Star Trek television series and movies. His task was to create a completely functional language that could be used by the warrior race that has become a major part of the Star Trek fictional universe. "We wanted to put together a show that people outside the theatre world could appreciate," Kidder explained. "But we also wanted to put together a show that fit with our mission."
The mission of Commedia Beauregard involves producing works in translation. They started 2007 with a production of "The Jeweler's Shop" by Pope John Paul II, which was originally written in Polish. Their fall offering was "The Young Lady's Consent," which was a play that Kidder translated from the Spanish classic "El sí de las niñas" by Leandro Fernandez de Moratin. "We got a team of four translators together for the holiday show," Kidder said as he flipped through his copy of The Klingon Dictionary. Two of the show's translators, Kidder and Sasha Walloch (Commedia Beauregard's Associate Artistic Director) focused mainly on the adaptation of the script. "The script had to capture the flavor of Klingon culture," stated Walloch.
"Klingons wouldn't care if Scrooge wasn't caritable and nice," added Kidder. The tale, as it is told in the translated version is that of a Klingon who has no courage, nor honor: two virtues of Klingon society. "The spirits that visit Scrooge are all trying to help him become an honorable and courageous warrior."
The process of translating the play into Klingon fell into the hands of two members of the local Klingon fan club, the IKV Rakehell, which is a part of a larger international fan club called the Klingon Assault Group. Bill Hedrick and Laura Thurston spent many hours going over the script with Kidder and Walloch to get the language right for the new version.
"Bill and Laura have made this process a joy," said Kidder. Because the performance is a fundraiser, all of those working on the project are volunteers. The translation team, the techcians, designers, and the actors.
For one of the actors, "A Christmas Carol" was a major part of his family for years. Michael Ooms grew up with his father, Richard Ooms, playing Scrooge at the Guthrie. Michael also appeared on the Guthrie stage as a child in those productions. He also appeared in two of the "Mighty Ducks" movies from Disney. Now an adult, he was recently seen in "Measure for Measure" with Nightpath Theater, which also starred Walloch.
"Michael is an amazing actor," said Walloch, who is directing the show. "We are lucky to have him as part of this cast."
Others in the cast are Josh Jabas, Brian O'Neal, Jen Rand, Rob Withoff, Nathaniel Churchill, Brian Watson- Jones, Scot Moore, Andre Northrop, and Erin Schroeder, as well as Thurston and Hedrick.
In addtion to the performance, the evening will include a silent auction and other entertainments. The auction will begin at 6:30 p.m. The performance itself will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for the event are $20, and can be ordered in advance through www.ticketworks.com, or by calling 651-209-6689. For further information: Press contact is Christopher O. Kidder, 651-214-2905 or firstname.lastname@example.org