The Federation will not be televised — it’ll be live.
Each Friday and Saturday in September, The Dark Room boldly goes where no other hole-in-the-wall theater has gone before, as it takes on hippie idealism, technological aversion and questionable musical interludes (three words: Don’t Stop Believin’) in “Star Trek Live: The Way to Eden.”
Under the direction of Jim Fourniadis — who’s an old hat at recreating sci-fi classics for the small stage with “Star Wars: Live On Stage” to his credit — Capt. James T. Kirk (Jay Huston of Chicken Scratch Improv) and the crew of the Enterprise face off against a group of free-wheeling radicals in this decidedly San Francisco-centric spoof.
For a fan of the original series, “The Way to Eden” is certainly no “Amok Time” and perhaps represents one of the lesser moments of “Star Trek” history. Let’s just blame it on the excessive sing-alongs, brother.
Yet, there’s something to be said about the absurdity of space hippies in search of paradise jamming with straight-laced Spock that’s unequivocally laughable. Comedy, as Vulcan logic would suggest, is not logical.
“I love ‘Star Trek’ and will defend its blend of action-oriented bravado and metaphorical message sci-fi ’til the end, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit that sometimes the writing and acting wasn’t delightfully campy,” Fourniadis says. “So as anachronistic wackiness goes, nothing hits the mark quite like a bunch of space hippies from the future. In parodying this episode, very often I felt like it nearly wrote itself, what with all the silly hippy-speak and overly melodramatic situations.”
The live adaptation of the particularly obscure episode may not resonate outside the sci-fi community, but it definitely has the potential to appeal to any self-described Trekkie, as evidenced by the excitement of a few fans on opening night as the Gil Scott Heron-inspired proto-rap song (featured in the show’s video trailer) set the tone for the evening ahead.
Among the references to Twitter, “Braveheart” and a perfectly nonsensical insertion of Lionel Richie’s “Hello” sung by Chekov (played by the endearing Misha Trubs), “Star Trek Live: The Way to Eden” is a delightfully ridiculous hourlong romp that does justice to the original episode with a few modern touches.
Star Trek Live: The Way to Eden
When: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; closes Sept. 24
Where: Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission St., San Francisco
Contact: (415) 401-7987, www.darkroomsf.com