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Shakespeare in Klingon Coming to Artisphere

by ARLnow.com January 18, 2012 at 3:15 pm 4,830 41 Comments

Klingon is making a theatrical comeback in Arlington.

Less than two years after the Arlington-based Washington Shakespeare Company made headlines with an evening of Shakespeare performed in the fictional Star Trek language, the company is planning on staging another Klingon production.

WSC Avant Bard, as the company is now known, will host “Shakespeare in Klingon II” at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 4. The one-night-only performance will be held at Artisphere’s Rosslyn Spectrum theater, the company’s permanent home since vacating the Clark Street Playhouse in Crystal City. Tickets for the show/fundraiser are $85 and include two “flexible-use passes” for future WSC Avant Bard shows.

Among those taking the stage — besides the Shakespearean Klingon actors — will be WSC Avant Bard Board President Marc Okrand, creator of the original Klingon language, and the fortuitously-named Michael Kahn, Artistic Director of the (unrelated) Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.C.

“The revelry for Washington’s Shakespeare moniker will be in both English and Klingon, using scenes from Hamlet, The Tempest, and others,” WSC noted on its website. “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 at the conclusion of the show.”

Photos courtesy WSC Avant Bard

  • CourthouseChris

    Ohh yes let the jokes commence.

  • Richard Cranium








  • JamesE

    Will Christopher Plummer reprise his role as General Chang?

  • OX4


  • SouthPikeGuy

    Why are we paying for this crap?

    • Steamboat Willie

      If people go to see it, who are you to say it’s crap? Not my cup of tea, but neither is opera or Broadway musicals or live theater. That doesn’t mean those forms of performance art don’t deserve funding. I think American Idol is crap, but about a bazillion Americans apparently disagree.

      • Zoning Victim

        But those bazillion Americans are actually paying their own way, so to speak.

        • Michael H.

          More like the people that buy the products that the advertisers sell are paying for the show, as well as people who buy the music released by the official record label. If Doritos sponsors American Idol, then everyone who buys a bag of Doritos helps to pay for the show.

  • Yep Uhuh

    Much as I support the Artisphere (I do), and these people in their silly desire to stage Shakespeare in Klingon — which I also do, even though I don’t really understand why you’d go to all that effort for such an essentially worthless enterprise — I do have to question the wisdom of the admistration of the Artisphere putting this on now, with it being under such scrutiny.

    But, hey, maybe they know it’s a sure-fire money-spinner – trekkers might be coming in from miles around to attend.

    Sure doesn’t look good though…

    • Hokie

      What if they weren’t attracting anything else. This is more than nothing, which means they’ll get some sort of income as opposed to no income.

  • TMP

    Our tax dollars at work!

  • Matt in Lyon Park

    No, this stuff is crap. God help Arlington.

  • Zoning Victim

    Because Shakespeare isn’t boring enough when you can actually understand what the actors are saying.

    • JamesE

      You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.

      • Closet Trekker

        +1 for the Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country reference

        • JamesE

          I don’t associate with anyone who does not like that movie.

  • Valerie

    Not your tax dollars, those who want to attend are paying for this. It is a fundraiser for Avant Bard.

    • North A-Town Snob

      All well and good for the Avant Board and its fundraising, but isn’t the Artisphere funded through tax dollars and inevitability it is bearing some costs of having this performance held there…thus why people will claim it is a waste of taxpayer money because the overall Artisphere has been a giant black hole of taxpayer money.

    • TMP

      It is our tax dollars. We are paying for the venue to the tune of a projected $10.6 million by FY13. We’re not paying for the play itself, but we’re paying millions of dollars for a venue that is bleeding money and for what…to stage plays in fictitious languages.

      • South Arlington

        I don’t get this argument at all. So the venue is costing us money, we get that. Don’t we want them to put on shows that attract attendees so that it doesn’t bleed money? Or do you just want it to keep losing money so you can prove a point. From what I can tell, this show was very well attended when it was put on previously. I would think this would make much more money and attract way more people than the average obscure art show they usually have at the Artisphere.

        As for me, as long as the taxpayers are paying for this venue, I’d rather not root for failure.

        • SoMuchForSubtlety


  • OMG. What a mess.

  • North Pershing Drive

    Hab SoSlI’ Quch! Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam

    Oh and btw, nuqDaq ‘oH puchpa”e’?

  • DarkHeart

    Subtitles in ASL?

  • Clarendon

    This seems weird. But, I did see the “radical” version of Othello where Patrick Stewart played Othello and it was excellent.


  • CSEM

    Finally, a story for all of us English Majors turned Software Engineers…

  • novasteve

    OMG I would so go to this, and I’m not joking! I have a new respect for these people now.

    MALTZ, CHOY CHU!!!!!!

  • Art Critic


    How about Shakespeare in the nude? At least that would make money.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      The last time they did this it was sold out. So it makes money.

    • me

      Nah, they did that a few years ago, back when they were still called Washington Shakespeare Co.

  • MC

    I saw the last WSC Avant Bard performance at the Artisphere, and it was quite good, very creative.

  • BoredHouseWife

    haters gonna hate

    this is awesome!

  • truth be told

    This is going to look like a 1970s Saturday Night Live skit.

  • Michael H.

    I saw a preview of the Klingon-in-Shakespeare at one of the Crystal Screen outdoor movies a couple years ago. Marc Okrand showed up with a couple of the actors and performed a brief scene in Klingon. I have to say that it was quite odd, even though I’m somewhat of a Star Trek fan.

    I think most of the other people thought it was strange too. But I don’t think that’s why people will go. It will take on the atmosphere of a Star Trek convention, so Trek fans will show up to celebrate Star Trek in general, not necessarily Shakespeare in Klingon. Will they pack the house? I have no idea. But I think they could attract a decent number of people. If the last edition was a flop, I doubt that they would do it again.

  • ArlingtonWay

    Looks a lot like Melissa Bondi sitting in the picture on the right? Wonder if she registered her starship on Klingon.

    • novasteve

      Do they have to pay the car tax on Klingon birds of prey even if they leave the cloaking device on?

  • Trip D

    Arlington is a diverse, unique, and inclusive urban community. We should encourage this sort of artistic expression. What a wonderful opportunity to commingle theater dorks with science-fiction dorks. This play is like the Voltron of Nerditude. But it could be some much more . . . imagine if the actors broke the fourth wall and invited the audience to engage in live action role playing. The possibilities are endless. Unless of course some weirdo insisted on a Battlestar Galactica plot arc . . . don’t you hate when that happens.

    Arlington . . . . . . sigh.

  • GC22

    I sure hope to meet me some green women in the audience! They rock my worlds!

  • Nancy

    I attended this last fall. My husband wanted to go after we heard about it at the Crystal City outdoor movie. I thought: Shakespeare in Klingon? (gasp!) Still it was HIS birthday and so we went with friends, another couple. I have to say: WE ALL LOVED IT. I had NO IDEA what I was getting into, but that didn’t stop me from making fun of my husband and the whole thing. I was completely wrong! I’m glad they’re bringing it back. We were out of the country for the one with Stephen Fry. I have to admit: I wouldn’t miss this… it was simply FUN. (And I’m neither a Shakespeare nor a Star Trek fan.) Thank you Artisphere for bringing this to Arlington, I’m sure this could easily be in DC!

  • South Awwwlington

    Venues like this can be successful in much smaller cities. Have we reached out to the management of like venues that are successful?



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