It's busy week here in LA for science-infused entertainment! Or is that entertainment-infused science? You decide...
2nd Annual Sci-Fest LA
We're all used to seeing science fiction on screen, where futures both utopian and apocalyptic are often realized with the help of extensive special effects. It's much harder to bring the future to life when dealing with the limitations of live theater. But that's just what Sci-Fest LA is all about! This annual theater festival is comprised of new, one-act plays developed exclusively for the stage, challenging its writers, directors and cast members to find creative solutions in sharing these sci-fi stories.
The festival features two full programs of one-acts, including ACCESS, in which I'll be performing. The shows range from dramatic pieces to comedy to one of the very first plays to ever feature a cyborg. As a special treat, there's even a Sci-Fi Radio Theater, featuring performers from beloved genre TV shows, including Eddie McClintock (Warehouse 13), David H. Lawrence, XVII (Heroes), Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager) and Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5).
Sci-Fest LA plays at the ACME Theater in Hollywood on La Brea Blvd, and closes on May 31st, 2015. For tickets and more information: Sci-Fest LA.
Making a Big Bang for Education
The Big Bang Theory isn't just a show about scientists - it's now a show that is aiming to help create them. As reported in Variety, the CBS series co-creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre's family foundation has announced the establishment of "The Big Bang Theory" Scholarship Endowment at UCLA.
The fund — the first-ever UCLA scholarship created by, and named for, a television series — will support undergraduate students in need of financial aid who are pursuing their higher education in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at UCLA.
“The Big Bang Theory” Scholarships will be awarded based on financial need to low-income students who have earned admission to UCLA based on academic merit but need additional support to bridge the gap between typical levels of financial aid and the cost of attendance.
The fund has raised over $4 million to date through a combo of the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation and donations from the cast and others involved with the show.
The "I'm not a real scientist, I just play one on TV" joke has been played out to death over the years. I love the idea that a fictional world will now foster scientific learning in the real one. Perhaps we'll have to change the dialogue to, "I'm not a real scientist, I just FUND one on TV."
On the other side of town, a group of folks from the California Institute of Technology are showing their dramatic sides in Boldly Go!, a parody based on Star Trek. The two-act original musical was written by brothers Grant Remmen [PhD Candidate, Hertz/NSF Fellow, Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics, Caltech] and Cole Remmen, a theater major at the University of Minnesota. It's being directed by Brian Brophy.
Here's the official synopsis of the show, per the Theater Arts Caltech website:
The United Federation of Planets encounters a grave threat from an unknown source. The Starship Enterprise, with its intrepid crew – Captain Kirk, Spock, Doctor McCoy, Nurse Chapel, Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, and Sulu – is dispatched to investigate, going to the very edge of the Neutral Zone. Along the way, they encounter a mysterious alien scientist named Takya, for whom Spock finds himself emotionally susceptible.
We also meet a nerdy and surprisingly human-like Klingon named Kharthak, who believes the sinister Klingon Empire could aspire to something greater. In the ensuing tale, the Enterprise faces its greatest challenge yet.
Assumptions will be confronted, paradigms challenged, alliances tested, and new contacts made – whether for good or ill as yet to be seen. And it’s all set to a side-splitting tour de force of musical mayhem!
While you'll have to wait until 2016 to see a full production of the show, you can catch a "sneak peek" public staged reading on May 28, 2015. The cast will do a reading of the script, plus perform selected songs from the show. Click here for performance details.