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WSC Avant Bard

Klingons and the Wrath of Kahn

After scoring international attention last year with its presentation of Shakespeare scenes in Klingon, the language of the Federation’s arch enemies in the Star Trek series, WSC Avant Bard is beaming the Bard Klingons back to its theater in Arlington, Va., for its second benefit on March 4.

The sequel is titled “An Evening of Shakespeare in Klingon II: The Wrath of (Michael) Kahn,” as the fete’s special guest is scheduled to be Michael Kahn, artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company across the river in Washington, D.C.

WSC Avant Bard Artistic Director Christopher Henley, Board President Marc Okrand, creator of the original language, and their crew of Shakespearian Klingons will be joined by Kahn and other special guests for a program that celebrates the historic confusion between two of the D.C.-area’s Shakespeare companies, and answers the age old question: Traditional Bard or Avant Bard?

“Between Michael’s extraordinary 25 years in Washington and our body of work, there’s a lot of remarkable history to consider and to celebrate,” Henley said in a WSC Avant Bard release. The two companies have coexisted with similar names for 20 years, and confusion was common. “Maybe a little secret is that our companies are closer than some might realize. For us, there existed some friendly competitiveness over the years; now we look forward to mining a bit of that vein and having fun during our benefit on March 4.”

“I’ve never worked with Klingons before and I figure, after all these years, it’s about time,” Kahn said in the release. “I’m delighted to bring all the wrath of Kahn to the Avant Bard artists and other guests, and to celebrate an evening of theatrical fun.”

The benefit program includes scenes from Hamlet, The Tempest, and others. In addition, the Company Benefit performance will include a short conversation with Marc Okrand about his work with the Star Trek franchise over the years, and an audience question and answer session with Kahn, Henley, and special guest Klingons.

Two options for tickets:

Kahn is the third star in a constellation of gifted artists to join WSC Avant Bard for its Shakespeare in Klingon performances. In fall 2010, George Takei, the original Mr. Sulu, joined Henley and the company. Last February, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) hired WSC Avant Bard to re-stage the original show, which included actor Stephen Fry. Fry and the BBC filmed a documentary about the creative use of language, featuring WSC Avant Bard’s Klingon show.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company, currently celebrating Kahn’s 25th year as its guiding force, produces traditional theater featuring actors from around the country. The Washington Shakespeare Company was founded in 1990 and focuses on displaying local talent in provocative versions of classic works. WSC updated its name to “WSC Avant Bard” in 2011 to more accurately reflect its theatrical vision.

To both we say, “tich tor ang tesmur” (that’s not Klingon but a famous Vulcan proverb).

January 17, 2012

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