One man sci-fi

Article Originally written for eVent! magazine [ep] on June 23rd, 2005.

With Star Trek’s Enterprise having recently aired its last episode and with Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith having hit theatres it seems like science fiction fans will have to learn to live without two of the genre’s most enduring franchises for awhile.  There is however hope for at least one final hit of Star Trek and Star Wars goodness before withdrawals begin to set in.

Charles Ross and Michael Schaldemose are the ones supplying that hit, bringing to the Kelowna Community Theatre their one man shows. Ross’s show is a performance of the original Star Wars trilogy while Schaldemose brings Call Me Kirk: The Star Trek Adventure, a show that brings us the most memorable captain of the USS Enterprise.

Both performers are fringe festival veterans and Ross’ One Man Star Wars Trilogy has been toured all across North America since debuting in Toronto in 2001.  The play has been so successful that it drew the attention of Lucasfilm, the company through which George Lucas produces the Star Wars films.  Rather than being slapped with a lawsuit Ross was invited to perform his play at Celebration III, the official Star Wars bash to celebrate the release of Revenge of the Sith.

Schaldemose has returned to the role of space’s prime alpha male after having played everyone from the beat poet Charles Bukowski to villains like Adolph Hittler and Iago from Shakespeare’s Othello.  For him the role of Kirk holds a special allure.

“I’m of the age where I grew up watching Star Trek.  I found that the Captain Kirk character was like a role model really,” he explains.  “As a young boy I found that he was strong and independent and caring and has a soft side but at the same time he was a real man’s man who got things done.  I thought he was really cool just an all around great guy.”

The role almost comes as second nature to Schaldemose who says, “I kind of look like him a little bit and approach matters in the same way.”

The role of William Shatner’s most famous character, the brave adventurous Kirk, is a bit tricky.  The character has become such a popular culture icon that nearly everyone has their own impersonation of Shatner’s halting speech patterns.  From a range of stand-up comics to shows like the Family Guy, Kirk and Shatner have become comedy staples.  Even Shatner himself has started to poke fun at his overly serious image in shows like Boston Legal, movies like Free Enterprise and on commercials selling everything from internet startups to bran filled cereal to keep you regular.

Having started playing Kirk in response to seeing crappy impressions everywhere he went Schaldemose is not worried about competition.  “It’s just simply this I just do the best Kirk,” he says with utter confidence, “I just do the best Kirk and if anyone watches me they’ll go ‘Ah that guy does Kirk.’, and they won’t feel bad that I do Kirk better than them because they’ll just enjoy it.  I’m the quintessential Kirk, I really am.”

“I think that’s why my Captain Kirk wins out because I like Captain Kirk,” he explains, keying on what sets him apart from the others.  Apart from liking Kirk he notes that a joking tone does not work with the material, “I think you have to play it straight, you have to play it earnest you have to not send it up in a sense to really make it sing and really make it funny and really make it fun to watch.  When you watch the original episodes, oh my Lord, all of them they just take it so seriously and I think that’s probably one of the great things about the show and made it endure over all this time.”

While Charles Ross’s show is a stage adaptation of the original three Star Wars films Schaldemose is condensing the entire run of the original series of Star Trek into one performance.  Capturing the heights of the show in a sort of super medley episode everything and the kitchen sink is included.

“You’ll find almost every situation that Captain Kirk and his crew gets into in the story.  So it’s chalk full of fights with Klingons, alien entities that control their minds, Kahn who shows up a couple of times with sneak attacks and the beautiful babe whose tears enslave Kirk’s heart and makes him do dastardly things.”

Michael Schaldemose’s one-man show Call Me Kirk will have its first ever performance July 7th at the Kelowna Community Theatre along side Charles Ross’s One Man Star Wars Trilogy.  Call the Festival Box Office or visit www.ticketmaster.ca for prices and showtimes.