Sunday, April 17, 2016

Star Trekkin...

To those reading that are unfamiliar with the city I grew up in, you're about to get a good idea of how crazily quirky it can be. Wellington is renowned for its eclectic arts scene and I cannot stress enough the eclectic part of that phrase.

For the last couple of years in the city, a group of players and creative-minded theatre folk who operate under the moniker "Enterprise Entertainment" have put on a production called Summer Star Trek. Basically, it's a low budget, high enthusiasm outdoor theatre show in which a carefully selected episode from the original (George Takei, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner...) Star Trek series is acted out live.

As "After the Dance" was fast approaching its closing nights we inevitably began to discuss amongst ourselves what was next for us in theatre. One of our leads mentioned that Summer Star Trek auditions were coming up (he had previously played Kirk in their productions) and someone else mentioned that they were planning on auditioning as well. I hadn't thought much about doing any other theatre related things but I got to thinking that this might be a fun thing to go out for. I got in touch with Enterprise Entertainment and booked myself an audition time.

The episode they had picked for the upcoming show was "Mirror, Mirror" in which the Enterprise crew find themselves accidentally switching places with their "evil" counterparts in an alternate universe. I watched the episode a couple of times, looked through the scenes they had picked out for the audition process and decided that I'd quite like to be Dr McCoy.

The auditions rolled around, I was horribly nervous and managed to get through the obligatory 1-minute monologue I'd chosen which was a short excerpt from "Saving Private Ryan" that I thought would be good for conveying emotion subtly. We ran some scenes from the show, I relaxed a little bit and it ended up being quite fun by the time it ended.

I left feeling as though I'd done well but my audition group was quite a small one and we were the last group so I wasn't overly confident about the likelihood of being cast.

At the time I was exhausted from work and the schedule I'd had to live on for "After the Dance" which was basically: wake up at 3.30am for work, work 8 hours then come home around 12.30 to sleep for a bit, wake up around 5pm to have dinner and get to the theatre for call time, finish the show and come home to sleep a few hours before work.

The proposed Star Trek schedule was basically 3 months of rehearsals before performances and performances split over two weekends and I wasn't sure how much I wanted to commit to that sort of a schedule with working early mornings. I made the decision that if I was offered a part with no lines or very limited lines I'd turn it down in favour of a healthier sleep schedule. Then I got a call from the director.

Being a big ball of nerves, I let the phone ring out and waited for the txt to come through telling me I had a new voicemail. I ran a few scenarios through my mind and planned how I would react to various different outcomes before deciding to put myself out of my misery and just check the message.

I had been offered the part of Farrell: The personal guard of Captain Kirk in the "evil" universe. This was not the smallest part in the show nor the part with the fewest lines. It was however, a very small part with very few lines. I decided not to take it.

I then went to the kitchen, gathered the necessary ingredients from the cupboard, pre-heated the oven, mixed everything together, poured it into an oven-safe dish, baked it for an hour, took the dish out of the oven and left it to cool before cutting myself a big ol' slice of humble pie which I promptly consumed. It was a little bitter at first.

There was nothing else coming up that I wanted to audition for and I decided that being involved with something as crazy as an outdoor Star Trek show in any capacity was better than not being involved and regretting it later.

I took the part, put as much focus and effort as I possibly could into my character outside of my lines and had a hell of a lot of fun.

The rehearsal process was long but the company was fantastic. The shows all went really well and drew large and enthusiastic crowds. A lot of people I'd met through "After the Dance" came along to see the show as did some of my family including Mum who happened to be in Wellington for work during the performance run.

At the after party event, our director Shannon gave out award certificates along with one of the prop badges each that we had used for costuming during the show. That was a really nice touch and it takes someone who really cares about every facet of a production to personalise something like that for every member of cast and crew involved.

I made some good friends through Summer Star Trek and looking back its amazing to think about how many cool experiences I almost missed out on over something as trivial as not getting the specific part that I originally wanted.

Enterprise Entertainment also do a Star Wars themed show called 30 minute trilogy which sounds exciting and I'm sad I can't be a part of it, as happy as I am to be hanging out in Canada for the next little while. I'll definitely be signing myself up for auditions with these guys the next time I'm in town, they're a great group of people to have worked with.

The next post here will be about my big brother's wedding in November of 2015, Live Long and Prosper.

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