Review: ‘Star Trek Live’ – The Trek-themed Educational Stage Show | TrekMovie.com
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Review: ‘Star Trek Live’ – The Trek-themed Educational Stage Show July 17, 2010

by John Tenuto , Filed under: Review,ST: Live , trackback

The Star Trek Live educational stage show is running at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex until September, but there is also a second, longer version that is touring North America. This week Star Trek Live stopped at the Harper College Performing Arts Center in Illinois and my family and I attended the show. TrekMovie provides this special review of this longer, touring version of Star Trek Live.

 

The Experience of Star Trek Live

When you enter the theater for STAR TREK LIVE, you are presented with a set with two large and two smaller monitors set amongst a Starfleet Academy design. There is a large door at the back of the stage allows for the audience to see the USS Wells shuttle when it appears. This is the same set design for both the traveling version and the one at the Kennedy Space Center. You may want to get to the show early as they run fun trivia questions on the large monitors before the show, which helps bond the audience together and set the Star Trek tone.  Everything on the set has a purpose and is used during the show. The set is necessarily spartan both because there is audience participation and because of the science experiments and demonstrations that are run. However, it certainly felt like a "Star Trek" environment as we walked into the auditorium.


STAR TREK LIVE™ stage (from Kennedy Space Center – traveling version uses identical set

STAR TREK LIVE is set in our very near future where there is a Starfleet Academy being constructed in San Francisco. In the meantime, the audience (which are all cadets) are being trained by Commander Sean Christopher at the Kennedy Space Center when a renegade Nero-era Romulan threatens the Earth. Help arrives in the form of future Starfleet time traveler Voula who along with the audience and Christopher must try and defeat the Romulans.

If this sounds all very serious, it isn’t. Star Trek Live is a great deal of fun. There is much humor in the show, especially because of the actors ability to improvise with the audience while staying in character and the excellent jokes which play on the modern technology of today meeting the technology of the future. The show takes the audience on almost a thrill ride, with humor and adventure along the way, though always played with a respectful sense of the absurd. Star Trek Live never loses its identity as an interactive stage show, and as such, has an improvisational feel to it.


Commander Sean Christopher (left) and Federation Officer Voula (right) – from  Kennedy Space Center version of STAR TREK LIVE

The only misstep of the entire production is the makeup of the ears on both the Romulan (whose name I will not spoil here) and Voula. The Romulan’s ears droop so severely it is almost comical when not intended to be (or if it intended to be, it doesn’t really work) and Voula’s ear coloring contrasts too much with her face. As she is a main character, more care would be good because it is distracting sometimes. However, these are minor concerns in a genuinely well produced and acted show. In fact, the actors at our version were excellent, without a single flubbed word and genuinely enthusiastic (or in the instance of Voula, restrained) performances. Even more impressive is that the actors have to also deal with a great many props during the show, all without a single problem.

The show lasts about an hour with a question and answer session after the 45 minute show. The actors stay in character during the question and answer show, which is made even more fun by the questions asked by kids. The actors are educated about the science of the show and handled all questions with humor and good information.


Commander Sean Christopher (left) and Federation Officer Voula (right) – from  Kennedy Space Center version of STAR TREK LIVE

For Whom Does Star Trek Live Toll?


It is important to note that
Star Trek Live is "edutainment", educating about NASA and science together with entertainment. There are some fun interactive science exhibitions during the show, all in the context of the adventure. The audience gets involved both with clapping, on stage, and without spoiling something very fun, with the return of famous Star Trek "characters." I am a parent (I am also apparent, yet that has nothing to do with this review). Our son who is an 8 year old Star Trek fan really enjoyed the show, and as hoped, not only engaged the Star Trek side, he also was inspired by the science of it. At the end of the show, there is a genuinely sweet moment about our future in space that I wish every politician would be required to watch as it really made me think about how much we need to be, in Admiral Kirk’s words from Star Trek The Motion Picture, "out there." The price for tickets is comparable to a movie, and as a family, we felt we got our money’s worth (NOTE: the Kennedy
Space Center show is included in the price of the admission to the KSC). The nice thing is that there is enough
humor in the show, and the narrative is self contained, that non Trekkers could certainly enjoy themselves.

What about adult fans without kids? There is also much to enjoy (as long the purpose of the show is kept in mind). In fact, there are many nods to serious fans of the show, no matter what their age. For example, Voula’s ship is the USS Wells, a reference to both the author and Star Trek: Voyager. The character Sean Christopher must be THE Sean Christopher mentioned, yet not seen, in the episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday." Fans remember that Sean Christopher is the future son of Captain John Christopher, a 1960s military pilot met by the crew of the Enterprise when they travel back in time. He is said to play an important role in the space program and he certainly does in Star Trek Live. Nods like this are always welcomed and fun.

Star Trek Live is a fun and educational experience. What was nice to see as a long time fan myself was that the place was packed with a diverse audience. Talking to people around us was also great fun as Star Trek fans are always interesting and intelligent friends. The influence of the new film was certainly evident because there were so many kids, and in some instances, it was the kids bringing the parents to the show. Also, another effect was that someone in the audience asked the question which leader did the Christopher and Voula think was better, Kirk or Picard. The characters wisely asked the audience to vote and it was nearly unanimously "Kirk." I wonder what the audience composition and answer would have been prior to the movie’s influence.

Star Trek Live is an hour of good fun and recommended for both families and fans. We laughed and learned. And the show helped us feel inspired about NASA and the space program. What else could you ask?


STAR TREK LIVE (pictured from KSC) combines live action, audience participation, science, and elements from filmed Star Trek

 

 

STAR TREK LIVE SCHEDULE

May 31 – September 6, 2010
Kennedy Space Center
Cape Canaveral, FL
www.kennedyspacecenter.com

July 19-25, 2010
Dollywood Theme Park
Pigeon Forge, TN

www.dollywood.com

August 4-8, 2010
Queen City Ex
Regina, Saskatchewan
www.thequeencityex.com

August 10-15, 2010
Prairieland Park
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
www.saskatoonex.com

August 20 – 29, 2010
Western Idaho State Fair
Boise, ID
www.idahofair.com

Thursday, October 07, 2010
Clay Center for the Arts
Charleston, WV

www.theclaycenter.org

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Paramount Theatre
Charlottesville, VA
www.theparamount.net

Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wilkes Community College
Wilksboro, NC
www.wilkescc.edu

Friday, October 15, 2010
Hardin County Performing Arts Center
Elizabethtown, KY

www.thepac.net

October 16-17, 2010
Victoria Theatre
Dayton, OH
www.victoriatheatre.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010
RiverPark Center
Owensboro, KY
www.riverparkcenter.org

October 21-22, 2010
Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center
Huntingdon, TN

www.dixiepac.net

October 24-25, 2010
University of Alabama – Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center
Birmingham, AL
www.alysstephens.uab.edu

Thursday, October 28, 2010
Bowlus Fine Arts & Cultural Center
Iola, KS
www.bowluscenter.org

Saturday, October 30, 2010
Missouri Theatre
St.
Joseph, MO
www.saintjosephperformingarts.org

Monday, November 01, 2010
Vilar Center Arts Foundation
Beaver Creek, CO
www.vilarpac.org

Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Alberta Bair Theatre
Billings, MT
www.albertabairtheater.org

Thursday, November 04, 2010
WYO Theatre
Sheridan, WY
www.wyotheater.com

Monday, November 08, 2010
Ross Ragland Theatre
Klamath Falls, OR
www.rrtheater.org

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Laxson Theatre
Chico, CA
www.chicoperformances.com

Friday, November 12, 2010
Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
Santa Rosa, CA
www.wellsfargocenterarts.org

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Broadway Center
Tacoma, WA
www.broadwaycenter.org


 

Comments

1. charliebob - July 17, 2010

I kinda wish they’d bring it to the UK…

2. The TOS Purist aka The Purolator - July 17, 2010

They use footage from the new movie…and ENT uniforms…and nothing TOS-related.

Pass.

3. SnugglePuff - July 17, 2010

I think fans should get over that fact that it’s not serious trek.

The show is made to get kids interested again in science, not to sell star trek. ST is only used as a tool. The fact that star trek is being used at all instead of star wars is awesome!

This just goes to show how star trek is starting to make a comeback.

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER!!!

4. Montreal_Paul - July 17, 2010

They are going to Saskatchewan and not Montreal? What’s up with that?!?

5. Phaser Guy - July 17, 2010

They have a TNG shuttle, Enterprise Uniforms, a TNG Transporter console and footage from a Trek movie. Crazy.

6. James Lytle - July 17, 2010

I wish there was an AZ showing, I’d love to take my son to see it. Hopefully they’ll add more shows for next year.

7. "Check the Circuit!" - July 17, 2010

@ 2

Typical Talifan attitude.

8. The Original Animated Next Generation Deep Space Voyager Enterprise - July 18, 2010

Not coming anywhere near TX? FAIL!

9. Charlie - July 18, 2010

@2 and 5

Voula’s uniform is not ENT-era… it more likely from the 29th century. As is the USS Wells (USS Relativity was (will be) a Wells class ship). The Starfleet insignias on both confirms this.

10. Phaser Guy - July 18, 2010

And SMOKE when the shuttle lands? Any Trek fan could tell you there’s no smoke when any ship lands in Trek.

11. The Original Spock's Brain - July 18, 2010

Since Starfleet was likely founded in the 2120s-30s, the age of this “Sean Christopher” would not make him Captain Christopher’s son. Maybe his great-great-great-great-great-grandson.

12. Drake - July 18, 2010

hmmm how bout the East coast??

13. TJ Trek - July 19, 2010

although I’ve had some more negative then positive things to say about this show, I think I must agree that it’s point isn’t star trek, it’s point is the science. Trek is merely a vehicle to make the science accessable for everyone. with that said, if it presents some good solid science in an interesting way, then it’s a good show. That’s what it is their for.

14. TJ Trek - July 19, 2010

and another thing….I’m a fan of being true to all things Trek, keeping the continuity and all that….but did any one out there who listened Spock vs. Q or Spock vs. Q the sequel worry about cannon, or did you just have a good time listening like I did. (Star Trek Live is the same thing)

Now, I would like to see some real Star Trek theater, where it would be appropriate for fans to worry about Cannon and Continuity.

15. trekboi - July 19, 2010

Fascinating…

16. Adrick - July 19, 2010

@2: um, Sean Christopher as a near-future era astronaut character? That’s a definite shout-out to TOS, wouldn’t you say? :)

17. nike air jordan jumpman pro - October 7, 2010

awards used to be cool n kinda even anti-corporate establishment n most importantly a funny n entertaining show to watch that almost spoofs the other award shows but no longer–for truly lousy movies like twlight to win well nuff said–also the show wasnt very funny either–oh well–

18. sherry - September 9, 2011

They have not come to Alberta Canada Edmonton

just curious

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